Longridge has new attractions for wine and ale lovers

Peace Townsend

Peace Townsend - Credit: Archant

A micropub and a wine bar have both opened in the town during the past year

Andrea and Ben Fullalove

Andrea and Ben Fullalove - Credit: Archant

An array of new businesses have opened in Longridge over the past 12 months, with many sure to entice new customers and visitors to the area.

For Peace Townsend, although she may not be native to the Ribble Valley or even the UK, she’s made herself right at home in Longridge with her micropub, Hoppy Days. Originating from Wisconsin in the United States, Peace moved to the UK ten years ago after meeting her now husband, Adam, while he was in the US.

‘We did two and half years long distance, and then we thought if we want to see where this is going we’re better living in the same country,’ laughed Peace, who has had a varied history of careers. While in America she was an acupuncturist, and while here studied a specialist qualification in heritage decorating which brought her up north from London. However the travelling around to different stately homes became tiring. ‘So I started to help out a friend at their pub, and it then lead on to becoming manager before we had the idea of starting one of our own.’

Peace, who lives in Skipton, didn’t want to tread on toes at home, so decided to open up shop over the border. She already knew Longridge thanks to having friends in the area, and really liked its vibe of independent businesses. Hoppy Days, a pun on the cult TV series Happy Days – which was ironically set in Peace’s hometown, opened its doors in October of last year and it’s gone from strength-to-strength.

‘It’s a great and growing field, the brewing industry at the moment – and there seems to be a real resurgence in Lancashire. Longridge is a nice town and it had room for real ale and the micropub concept. I chose to have it slightly outside of the main high street as I wanted more of a neighbourhood feel. We’ve had a very warm reception. I operate on the idea that more is better, it’s not competitive. It’s about sharing the mentality that the more we offer the more local people will stay or people will visit from other areas.’

The brightly coloured pub has five ever-changing ales on cask: blonde, session, pale, dark and then the playful pump which can be anything, as well as craft bottles, wine and still ciders.

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They have also launched a series of popular Meet The Brewer events and a home brewers’ forum.

It seems that success in the beer industry is in Peace’s blood; her grandfather owned a tavern in Wisconsin and a photograph of it hangs proudly on the pub wall. ‘I still have some of his glasses and bottle openers. So far, it’s been great and I am enjoying it – I want people to leave here happier than when they came in. Life’s too short so let’s enjoy it.’

You won’t be short of excellent places to enjoy a drink in Longridge, especially after the arrival of specialist wine and tapas bar, Fullaloves.

The business opened its doors in May after relocating from Ribchester, and has already caused a buzz of excitement in the town.

‘It’s been amazing, the reception has been fabulous and it’s all been through word of mouth,’ said Ben Fullalove, who owns the business with his wife, Andrea. The couple started off with a small cabin in Ribchester, building up a loyal customer base for over three years.

‘It was originally a wine shop, and then we started to do a bit of food and wine by the glass, followed by launching wine and tapas evenings. These became really successful and we were fully booked two, three times per week.’

Their hand-built cabin eventually became too small, and their tiny kitchen couldn’t accommodate the amount of people visiting, so a better balance was required. A regular customer was a landlord of a building in Longridge, and encouraged the couple to take a look at the space at the Old Stables on Stanley Street.

‘We walked in the door and fell in love. The spiral staircase and exposed brick work was already here, so we added the steelwork and created the second floor. In the future we would like to create a little terrace area outside too.’

Now that the Fullalove’s have the additional space, their popular wine and tapas evenings can continue without a hitch, and they also have the opportunity to build on their food menu and launch further specialist evenings.

‘We’ve also been able to generate £15,000 through crowdfunding for a wine dispensing machine, which will be here soon, offering people eight different wines.’

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