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Anspach & Hobday Save Beloved Bermondsey Pub

 St James of Bermondsey Revived by Local Brewery

In a significant win for the local community, Anspach & Hobday, a prominent member of the London Brewers Alliance (LBA), has stepped in to save the cherished St James of Bermondsey pub from closure. Located on St James’ Road, the pub was on the brink of being boarded up when the Bermondsey-based brewery took over its management.

Anspach & Hobday, renowned for their presence on the Bermondsey Beer Mile, took action just a week before the pub was due to shut its doors. Co-owner John Hobday stated, “It was quite successful – but recently this site has suffered. A week before it was due to be boarded up, we stepped in and took over the lease. It would have been closed from the beginning of February if we hadn’t.”

The pub, owned by Stonegate, was nearly boarded up due to operational challenges. Anspach & Hobday’s intervention has provided a much-needed lifeline, preserving a vital community hub. New manager Simon, who previously managed the Marquis of Wellington, expressed his enthusiasm, saying, “We’re excited to welcome the community back into this local pub.”

While the takeover is a positive development, there are some operational constraints. Anspach & Hobday, despite being a brewery, must adhere to the pubco's restrictions on the beers they can sell. This means they cannot exclusively offer their own brews. John Hobday expressed his disappointment: “When you’ve got an area that’s famous for beer – and you’re only 100 metres away from the beer mile – it’s a shame to be restricted against selling local beers.” This includes their best-selling stout, London Black, which John describes as “Bermondsey’s answer to Guinness.”

To celebrate the new management and the preservation of this community gem, the pub will host a Cask Ale event at the end of May, featuring a special offer where beers will be ‘buy one get the other for £1’ for a whole week.

Anspach & Hobday’s efforts underscore the importance of local businesses in sustaining community spirit and supporting the vibrant brewing culture in London. As an active member of the LBA, Anspach & Hobday continues to champion the value of local breweries and the unique contributions they make to the city’s rich tapestry of beer and pub heritage.