Rise and fall of Patrick Fisher: 'Gentleman of the brewery trade' with a murky past
PUBLISHED: 08:01 20 November 2019 | UPDATED: 14:40 20 November 2019
Patrick Fisher was, on the face of it, a successful and respectable businessman but the reality was he had a trail of legal disputes and claims involving many Norwich pubs behind him.
Softly-spoken and articulate, the 39-year-old businessman, originally from Scotland, looked people in the eye before shaking their hand and appeared the epitome of respectability and trustworthiness.
But in fact he was no stranger to the law courts and had gone from one business to another amassing a trail of disruption in his wake.
By this year he had collected an impressive catalogue of legal disputes, claims and settlements connected with some of Norwich's best known pubs.
Those who encountered him spoke of Fisher as a vain man, who worked out in the gym and who was adept at the art of flattery.
But the gentleman of the brewery trade had a murky past dating back several years.
Fisher first came under the spotlight locally when he founded Redwell Brewery, originally in Bracondale, in 2012 with Amy Hancock, his former partner and mother of their son.
Redwell Brewery, now situated in Trowse, is no longer connected with Fisher in any way.
Fisher was a director of the Norwich Craft Beer company and under Redwell, he ran a number of city pubs such as the Ten Bells, in St Benedicts Street, the Mash Tun, Charing Cross, and the Tap House, in Redwell Street. None of these pubs have any connection with Fisher now.
It seemed Fisher had the Midas touch with the pub trade, announcing in 2014 a major rebranding of the Mash Tun with a gin palace upstairs and 21 craft beers on draught.
A year later, in 2015, Fisher made another announcement, that they were acquiring their fourth pub, the Lord Rosebery, in Rosebery Road, with the aim of creating "inclusive community locals".
And then came the gin business. In 2015 Fisher spearheaded the opening of a new gin distillery, specially imported from the US, in the Ten Bells, "capable of producing 1.5m bottles of gin a year". Seemingly it was success story after success.
But that year saw the first cracks appearing when Camden Town Brewery lodged a claim against Redwell over its 'Hell's lager' name, which the other brewer said was too similar to its own Camden Hell's lager launched five years previously.
At the time, Fisher protested his innocence stating he had done "everything he could" to avoid the High Court battle. A year later, in June 2016, the case settled out of court with Fisher declaring Redwell had stopped brewing the lager.
In the same year Fisher fronted the production of the first London Dry gin from Norwich in a partnership with Russell Evans, co-owner of Bullards and in 2017 it was named the world's "best" to much acclaim.
In 2017, however, Fisher came unstuck when Redwell Brewery itself was placed in administration and bought out by new owners - who promptly left Fisher out of the deal.
Once again Fisher refused to accept any blame and even went on to threaten legal action against Redwell claiming he was "forced out" of the business - but never took the matter further.
Redwell and Fisher officially then parted company.
The next time Fisher took the spotlight was in June this year when he made contact with this newspaper to discuss yet another battle he was embroiled in.
This time he said he was fighting Bullards over the right to use the Bullards name. He gave a theatrical performance being close to tears as he told of the case and stating how "emotionally drained" he was. He later posed for photographs looking suitably upset.
He said at the time he was running a new brewery, outside Norfolk.
What he didn't reveal was that the very next week he was due to appear in Norwich Crown Court accused of fraud, a case which was adjourned until this week.