It’s a Friday. 5.27pm. Mortgage paying bit of the week done and I’m in The White Star, Stoke-on-Trent.
Nothing unusual about that I guess. Neither was it particularly unusual that whilst perusing the ever entertaining local rag and watching the City Council office staff meander their way home, some choosing to indulge in a pint before heading off – that a guy scaled a ladder to tend to the hanging baskets that adorn this particular Titanic pub.
What was unusual was the green-fingered gentleman in question was Dave Bott - the Director and co-founder of the brewery that owns this and several other pubs that make up the Titanic group.
On my visit to brewery headquarters less than a week later, the all hands on deck (excuse the pun) feel to the whole operation is yet more evident. There is a professional yet relaxed feel to what is now a global operation and the modest premises are a welcoming and inviting setting for a business of which Stoke-on-Trent should be extremely proud.
For those of you that follow me on Twitter I am fully aware that I’m guilty of continually abusing your timelines with references to my over indulgent relationship with Plum Porter, my favourite tipple without question. As if in tribute to my arrival, said Porter was being racked and the aroma was mesmeric and even at 10am, extremely inviting.
Titanic was founded in 1985 by brothers Keith and Dave and continues to expand, now producing around 2.3m pints a year. What impresses me most is not just the ‘hands on’ attitude but also the determination to keep things local. Employing over 150 people across North Staffordshire and continually seeking new development, products and outlets, the temptation to move from their Burslem home must at times be hard to resist, purely from a logistical perspective. Yet the Directors remain loyal to their roots and plans are in place to develop the current site.
The brewery’s reputation also continues to grow. The centenary of the sinking of the Titanic saw crates of commemorative ale shipped to the US, a limited edition celebratory Royal Wedding Ale produced in association with local company Wade Ceramics proved a huge success and now the stars of the music world are getting in on the act. Titanic worked with Professor Green to develop a bottled beer in conjunction with the recent release of his new single. The process saw the rapper visit the brewery with his palate providing the inspiration for his Signature Brew ‘Remedy’.
Such heady heights of celebrity association in no way detract from that local feel and commitment. Their pubs really are the hubs of the communities they serve and buck the trend of which I have spoken before. With an at times over powering sense of doom, gloom and desperation it is heart warming to see such a company not only based in Stoke-on-Trent, but proud of it too.