Landlords call time at celebrated Kilmington pub
- Credit: Archant
Brian and Denise Jenkins ensured the New Inn remained the toast of the brewing industry for more than two decades.
THE landlords of an Axe Valley pub that has been featured in every edition of CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide since 1974 are retiring.
The New Inn, at Kilmington, is one of only seven hostelries in Britain included in all 41 editions of “the beer drinker’s bible”.
Brian Jenkins, 62, and his wife, Denise, 59, have run the pub for just over 21 years, as tenants of Palmers Brewery, of Bridport.
Their success as one of CAMRA’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ is particularly impressive because the pub was destroyed by fire in 2004 and shut for nearly a year for rebuilding.
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‘We only had what we stood up in and that was it, everything else was gone,’ said Brian.
‘It was devastating,’ said Denise. ‘It plays on my mind now when I start thinking about it.’
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But Brian said the fire – caused by spontaneous combustion in the thatched roof - was also “a godsend” as it enabled Palmers to bring the pub firmly into the 21st century, with new features like the ‘excellent toilets with disabled access’ praised by CAMRA in its current Good Beer Guide.
Other big changes over the last two decades have been the increased sales of wine and food.
“Pubs can’t be without food these days,” stressed Denise.
Brian added: ‘When we first came here, food was about 10 per cent of the turnover, it’s now nearly 50per cent, and wine, I used to sell maybe a bottle a week, and I’m now doing thousands of bottles a year.”
But it’s Palmers’ fine ale that has given The New Inn its exceptional reputation for quality.
“I’ve never felt it to be a burden of responsibility, it’s just something you do, things have to be right,’ said Brian. “Keep your beer lines clean, do them every week and do them properly, and make sure you’ve got the right-sized barrelage in for your turnover, it’s as simple as that. If you change a barrel every day, then your beer’s fresh every day.
Palmers tenanted trade director Jayson Perfect said: “ Brian and Denise have been fantastic tenants and I hope they enjoy a happy retirement. Our new landlords, Chris and Becky Newman, are committed to keeping up the listing and making the pub even better in the future.”
Mr and Mrs Jenkins will remain in the Kilmington area and say the New Inn will now be their local.”