David Craddock, owner of two award-winning Stourbridge pubs – The Duke William and Plough & Harrow – aims to create atmospheres that he would want to drink in.
When you walk into any of his pubs you won’t be hit by jukeboxes or TVs blaring away in the background. Instead, you’ll be greeted by a hive of activity as strangers strike up conversations, musicians strum away in the corner and the friendly bar staff get ready to test your taste buds with their extensive drinks range.
David ‘cut his teeth’ at the age of 21 as a manager of a Holden’s pub in Sedgley. Keen to run his own pub, he bought the Plough & Harrow in 2006 at a time when many landlords were targeting women, with ladies nights and cocktails, or families.
But David wanted to be different. He introduced traditional opening hours, lit the open fire and ordered a wider range of ciders and ales to create a cosy country pub.
When he bought The Duke William from Marston’s in 2009 it’s fair to say the Edwardian pub was a little rough around the edges. But, despite its bad reputation, David was determined to turn it around. He needed to do something none of the other pubs in Stourbridge were doing.
So in March 2011, he introduced the brewery and the ales are now sold in the two pubs. The first ale was called ‘First born’ as it was timely with the arrival of David’s son Arthur. Following the family theme, his second beer was aptly named ‘Arthur Pint’.
Since the brewery started at The Duke William, the capacity has increased by 50% and, thanks to popular demand, production is set to grow by a further 50% by the end of 2013.
In May 2013, Craddock’s joined forces with another Black Country brewery Sadler’s Ales to bring a pie and pint experience to Worcester city centre. David hopes to bring the same concept to Stourbridge soon.