Malvern Inns, the pub company run by industry veterans David Roffe and Alastair Scott, has opened its second pub that it hopes to operate as a ‘testing lab’ for retail innovations. The company has taken the Punch lease of the George at Backwell, near Bristol, which had been closed. Around £500,000 is expected to be spent on refurbishment work at the pub, with particular emphasis on rejuvenating the large beer garden. Scott, a former director at Mitchells & Butlers who also runs Catton Consulting, said: “I’ll be doing a lot of stuff in there that I think the industry should be going for. I will be putting my money where my mouth is.” Plans include hosting dedicated clubs to teach customers about areas such as beer, wine and food. “We can really get people to have an interest in the pub over and above coming and enjoying themselves,” said Scott, who also writes columns for M&C Report. The pub has signed up to host Beer Academy courses and there are aims to run courses in kitchen management skills for local pubs and other caterers. Scott added: “The nice thing for me is that it keeps me close to the business and allows me to experiment and have a go at things that are important for the industry. I’m doing a bit of R&D as well. I’m prepared to try things because it helps my consultancy business, and helps me ‘stay real’.” Malvern Inns also runs the Coach & Horses in Banbury, Oxfordshire, a Hook Norton leasehold.

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