The Royal Oak in Charmouth has new landlords attracted by the family feel of Palmers Brewery.
‘We wanted to go into a family set-up because we’re a family set-up ourselves,’ said Richard Grundy, who previously served for 32 years as a policeman.
Richard and his wife Sue, a former conference and banqueting manager for hotels, have moved to Dorset from Aldershot with their daughter Catherine, 19, who’s been mixing catering college with work in 5-star hotels.
They plan to keep The Royal Oak at the centre of village life for locals, visitors and numerous sports teams. Sue has just one reservation.
She said: ‘I think the tradition of The Royal Oak Christmas Day swim is just fantastic, and I’m more than happy to go down to the beach with hot toddies and welcome people out of the sea – but I certainly won’t be going into the sea myself!’
New events will include charitable functions to raise money for Help for Heroes, as Richard and Sue have two sons in the Armed Forces.
They spent six months searching for a pub across the south of England, before choosing to go with Palmers.
Richard said: ‘We particularly liked this area, and Palmers is a close-knit family set-up.’
Sue said: ‘Everybody that we’ve met so far at Palmers, they all seem to be happy and work closely together, from the people that pick up the telephone, deliver the business IT support to the people that deliver our beer.
‘We even went shopping the other day and a Palmers dray lorry went by and beeped. It’s just a friendly feeling from the whole of the team.
‘We thought if the brewery has that feel about it, then it’s going to come onto us and we’re obviously going to give that to the customers as well.’
Richard and Sue met before he joined the police, and the family set-up they now have in Charmouth reflects their past.
Sue said: ‘It’s something we’ve always talked about. We met in the pub that his parents had in the village of Shrewton in Wiltshire, and we worked a bit behind the bar together then.
‘It’s something that’s always been in our blood really, that we wanted to do, so when Richard could retire from the police, we decided that we would look for a pub, and if we found the right place, which I believe we have, we’d make a go of it.’
Daughter Catherine also had a say, and she was positive: ‘I must say I’m very chuffed with their choice, they have got very good taste.’
Catherine has been enjoying running the kitchen of a traditional English pub, cooking classic English food with flair.
‘We’ve been getting good feedback for the food, so it’s exciting,’ she said.
Richard said: ‘I think this pub is worth doing. We looked at a lot of other pubs that were failing, to be honest with you, and other brewers seem to have their heads a little bit in the sand about it, but this is a viable pub.
‘It’s a totally different role to what I was doing, and I’m enjoying every minute of it.’