Raising a toast to award winning Shoulder of Mutton pub

Peter Fowler

Peter Fowler Buy this photo

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

A LANDLORD is the toast of the town after he transformed a struggling boozer into an award-winning pub.

The Shoulder of Mutton in Wantage has this week been crowned the best pub in central southern England by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

Landlord Peter Fowler said after taking on the business less than two years ago he had made a big effort to change the pub’s image.

He said: “We now have a very good following of all sexes and ages and no trouble whatsoever.

“It’s taken a lot of effort to swing the ship around but I am very glad I have done it.

“I’m absolutely overwhelmed we have won this award.

“It now puts us firmly on the map and will hopefully bring people into Wantage and bring business to other people as well.”

The pub is one of 16 regional winners to go forward to compete for the national title, which will be announced in February.

Camra made the announcement as its 40th Good Beer Guide is published today.

The book details the best 4,500 real ale pubs in the country and is compiled by local Camra members.

A summary of the Wallingford Street pub in the new guide reads: “Corner pub recently renovated by an enthusiastic landlord, renowned for its friendly atmosphere. “The 10 beers are constantly changing, with a strong emphasis on local ale.”

Last month the Oxford Mail reported how the county had lost 50 pubs in the last five years with landlords blaming the recession and Government tax hikes on beer.

Neil Crook, chairman of the White Horse Camra branch, said the success of local pubs in the beer guide proved the industry could continue to thrive despite tough times.

He said: “Given the right attitude and the will and freedom to do it, there are people out there who are wanting to come out and enjoy their evenings still.”

Sandra Gill, Camra central southern regional director, added: “The Good Beer Guide has always been about celebrating the best community pubs serving a high standard of real ale, and in the Guide’s 40th year, the competition to become one of the 4,500 pubs included within it has never been greater.”

Comments (8)

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6:03am Fri 14 Sep 12

Victor's_friend says...

Good luck and he deserves it after the recent reporting of his massive refitting cost for a tenanted pub.

Constantly changing its 10 beers must be frustrating to customers wanting their usual pint.

Why is there an advert therein for 'Sunday lunch at the Bear'?

What no mention of The Royal Oak, Newbury Street?
Good luck and he deserves it after the recent reporting of his massive refitting cost for a tenanted pub. Constantly changing its 10 beers must be frustrating to customers wanting their usual pint. Why is there an advert therein for 'Sunday lunch at the Bear'? What no mention of The Royal Oak, Newbury Street? Victor's_friend
  • Score: -6

9:39am Fri 14 Sep 12

## Nonny Mouse ## says...

The Oak doesn't need advertising. Word of mouth seems to serve it well.

Very happy for Mr.Fowler, but i must have caught him on a bad day when i last dropped in for a pint. Not exactly welcoming... His staff are friendly enough though.
The Oak doesn't need advertising. Word of mouth seems to serve it well. Very happy for Mr.Fowler, but i must have caught him on a bad day when i last dropped in for a pint. Not exactly welcoming... His staff are friendly enough though. ## Nonny Mouse ##
  • Score: -2

11:44am Fri 14 Sep 12

Victor's_friend says...

## Nonny Mouse ## wrote:
The Oak doesn't need advertising. Word of mouth seems to serve it well. Very happy for Mr.Fowler, but i must have caught him on a bad day when i last dropped in for a pint. Not exactly welcoming... His staff are friendly enough though.
I was just thinking the same, every time I have passed by so I didn't stop. Seems like a place only for regulars!

The photo looks like his pint is gesturing
'up yours'!

True, guess the crime reporter doesn't get on with the Oak!!
[quote][p][bold]## Nonny Mouse ##[/bold] wrote: The Oak doesn't need advertising. Word of mouth seems to serve it well. Very happy for Mr.Fowler, but i must have caught him on a bad day when i last dropped in for a pint. Not exactly welcoming... His staff are friendly enough though.[/p][/quote]I was just thinking the same, every time I have passed by so I didn't stop. Seems like a place only for regulars! The photo looks like his pint is gesturing 'up yours'! True, guess the crime reporter doesn't get on with the Oak!! Victor's_friend
  • Score: -5

12:48am Mon 17 Sep 12

TheMutton says...

Victor's_friend seems to really have a problem: it seems that I have offended you at some time in the past to get so much attention from you.

I suggest that instead of commenting on things that you don't know, come in and see! If you don't like what you see at least you will be able to comment from experience rather than spouting a lot of unnecessary tosh.

On the other hand, if I have banned you this is NOT an invitation to revisit us.

If you're unsure, just get some advice from Victor: he knows best!
Victor's_friend seems to really have a problem: it seems that I have offended you at some time in the past to get so much attention from you. I suggest that instead of commenting on things that you don't know, come in and see! If you don't like what you see at least you will be able to comment from experience rather than spouting a lot of unnecessary tosh. On the other hand, if I have banned you this is NOT an invitation to revisit us. If you're unsure, just get some advice from Victor: he knows best! TheMutton
  • Score: 0

12:55am Mon 17 Sep 12

TheMutton says...

I am truly sorry that ## Nonny Mouse ## had a bad experience here, especially at my hand. However I am absolutely delighted that he has found a good drinking hole with my old friend Paul. He is a quintessential landlord for whom I have unlimited praise.

Please try us again sometime. I welcome ALL criticism in person.
I am truly sorry that ## Nonny Mouse ## had a bad experience here, especially at my hand. However I am absolutely delighted that he has found a good drinking hole with my old friend Paul. He is a quintessential landlord for whom I have unlimited praise. Please try us again sometime. I welcome ALL criticism in person. TheMutton
  • Score: 1

12:38pm Tue 18 Sep 12

Mazikan says...

I've just had a look at the website and the menu looks great.

My mum lives round the corner from thereso I'll be calling into The Mutton soon.
I've just had a look at the website and the menu looks great. My mum lives round the corner from thereso I'll be calling into The Mutton soon. Mazikan
  • Score: 0

1:26pm Tue 18 Sep 12

Bumble64 says...

And we wonder why so many pubs close with such negative attitudes!

I live 180 miles away and still insist on making this pub my first port of call on my return......hardly a regular these days, but appreciate excellent beers and a serious attempt to deliver excellent service no matter what time of day.

Peter... I guess the pic is a 'gesture' but bearing in mind the direction you face in that pic its probably at all those who have tried to drag you down as you gave them the best pub in Wantage.

Jeez 365 days you open and someone makes a comment on 1 day !! Wonder who really was having the bad day :-)
Keep going to all those who support this venture, and for the rest..... try not to kill it and Wanage at the same time.

Remember all those who scoff at this guys hard work.

'Form is temporary (theme pubs and night clubs) but Class in the Glass is permanent' !!
And we wonder why so many pubs close with such negative attitudes! I live 180 miles away and still insist on making this pub my first port of call on my return......hardly a regular these days, but appreciate excellent beers and a serious attempt to deliver excellent service no matter what time of day. Peter... I guess the pic is a 'gesture' but bearing in mind the direction you face in that pic its probably at all those who have tried to drag you down as you gave them the best pub in Wantage. Jeez 365 days you open and someone makes a comment on 1 day !! Wonder who really was having the bad day :-) Keep going to all those who support this venture, and for the rest..... try not to kill it and Wanage at the same time. Remember all those who scoff at this guys hard work. 'Form is temporary (theme pubs and night clubs) but Class in the Glass is permanent' !! Bumble64
  • Score: 0

12:47am Wed 3 Oct 12

TedLittle says...

Not like the old days, but still the best Pub in town, excellent beer, good landlord, and friendly staff. My first stop when visiting from Ozzie, shame the chilli could be hotter!!!
Not like the old days, but still the best Pub in town, excellent beer, good landlord, and friendly staff. My first stop when visiting from Ozzie, shame the chilli could be hotter!!! TedLittle
  • Score: 0

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