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Putting Pom back into Pomeroy's pub 

Many of us have sat in a pub, with a jar in hand and had an idea – but those ideas tend to drift away and remembering them is always a challenge.

For Steve Pomeroy this moment arrived when he had just delivered a pool table to the Old Brewery Inn, on Kilmore Street, Christchurch, almost 25 years' ago.

"I sat there and said to myself, I like this – it's a little bit of England – one of these days I'm going buy it," he recalls. 

Ten years later, on a Friday after a long week, Steve was sitting in the same place and wrote an offer for the pub on the back of an envelope.  "There was some umming and ahring from the owner, but to cut a long story short, it was accepted," he says. 

That was in 2000 and he had bought the pub with his wife Victoria, and a business partner.  He then trained, took exams, got a liquor license and started a family business, while also running the construction company he'd had for ten years.

"By family business I mean my wife made the toasted sandwiches, my daughter helped when she was old enough and my parents cleaned," Steve explained.  "We started small, with a relaxed approach, and turnover was challenging.  So I still ran the construction business during the day and pulled pints in the evening," he says.

It was a hard two years before things improved but Steve stayed true to his dream of a great pub serving craft beer, the result of his years in England and some valuable time spent at the Fountain Inn in Tenbury Wells, Shropshire.

"Gradually the business started to gain momentum and our reputation grew for great beer and a unique pub atmosphere.  The difference we have is the history of what is now called Pomeroy's.  It's all about the beer and the building - they go together to create an ambience," Steve says.

The pub itself was built in 1867 and is one of the oldest masonry buildings now standing in Christchurch.  With a structure of this age the business could have been wiped from history by the earthquakes, but thankfully it stood up and using his construction experience Steve was able to bring it up to 70% of code.

"We spent almost $2m on the upgrade so the next challenge was how to secure the business's financial future.  It was then that I bumped into Wayne Bailey from Taurus Group.  I'd known Wayne for years and after a short conversation he said: 'you need to buy that property outright.'

 It was at that point a plan was started to give Steve total control of the pub and building.  Taurus managed the valuation and the raising of finance, so by the middle of 2014 Steve had full ownership and a clear opportunity to continue to make Pomeroy's the best destination pub in the South Island.

Over the years Steve and his family have created a foundation on which to grow the business.  The range of craft beers has expanded to over 30, a brewery was added two years ago, as well as some accommodation and the restaurant serves a huge range of fare, giving Steve the chance to do what he does best: making sure everyone is enjoying themselves.

Unfettered and able to look to the future Steve has other plans and will soon open a café to operate from early morning to lunch time.

"We want people to stay here all day from morning coffee to night-cap," Steve says jokingly, and with how he describes the atmosphere and character of Pomeroy's you have to ask yourself, why not?

www.pomeroysonkilmore.co.nz