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Owner of the ‘Best Pub in Norwich’ shares his secrets to success

PUBLISHED: 17:07 18 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:07 18 September 2018

The Fat Cat Brewery Tap won the Norfolk and Norwich CAMRA  awards for ‘2018 city pub of the year’ and overall ‘pub of the year’. Photo: Fat Cat Brewery Tap

The Fat Cat Brewery Tap won the Norfolk and Norwich CAMRA awards for ‘2018 city pub of the year’ and overall ‘pub of the year’. Photo: Fat Cat Brewery Tap

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The fat cat family have dominated the Norfolk pub award scene for decades.

The Fat Cat Brewery Tap has a rotating selection of real ales,  kegged beers and cider. Photo: Fat Cat Brewery TapThe Fat Cat Brewery Tap has a rotating selection of real ales, kegged beers and cider. Photo: Fat Cat Brewery Tap

This year the Fat Cat Pub and sister venue the Fat Cat Brewery Tap scooped three awards from the Norfolk branch of CAMRA and the Good Pub Guide.

Fresh from their CAMRA double-win, Mark White, joint owner of the Fat Cat Brewery Tap with wife Laura Hedley-White, has revealed the secret to success.

Move with the times

The Fat Cat Brewery Tap sells a rotating selection of 20 real ales, 18 kegged beers and 23 types of cider.

Mark said: “Every time you come in will be a different experience because 9/10 times there will be a new beer board.

The beer market has changed phenomenally over the past six years and it’s not just about having a standard pint anymore. There’s never been more to choose from.”

Personality is key

With such a huge variety of beers on offer, having staff that know their stuff is essential.

Mark said: “Our manager Will is quite frankly, the world’s nerdiest beer geek and he makes sure new staff know how to recommend beers based on customer preferences. More importantly though we employ based on personality because we want friendly people representing the pub.”

Keep the food simple

Two years ago the pub launched their pared down menu of tantalising loaded chips.

Mark said the idea was born from wanting food that people could eat with a pint in hand.

He added: “The beauty of the menu is it’s small but diverse.

Our kitchen manager, Tamsin Macro explores markets and the Internet to find flavour combinations. There’s no better pairing than a pint of beer and traditional hand cut chips.”

Love your space

According to Mark, a pub shouldn’t have to compromise atmosphere over great beer. The space should cater to patrons as flexibly as the menu.

He said: “People want to be able to come in alone and read a paper or with a group of friends.

It’s the simple things that make the big thing great. We make sure we have a full array of newspapers and pub games which we update regularly. Dogs and kids are welcome. The fundamentals of a great pub haven’t changed.”

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