Paul told us that he strongly believes real ale to be fundamental to the survival of the pub; in particular, it's a major weapon in the battle between on- and off-trades given that you can only get draught real ale in pubs and clubs.

Paul then took us through the new suite of agreements which the company is introducing with their licensees. And which he feels enables them to offer more choice of real ales than most companies. Of Enterprise's 6820 pubs, 5099 stock cask beer and it represents 15.3% of their beer sales (and rising). The company works closely with SIBA (the Society of Independent Brewers) and 1593 pubs are now on the SIBA Direct Delivery Scheme. This gives licensees access to 1346 beers from 363 brewers. Since July 2010, Enterprise has been offering a guest ale option in all new agreements and has started making this available to existing agreements as well. (licensees do of course pay a price for this freedom in terms of their rent and/or what they pay for the beer)

Paul described an especially interesting development in Sheffield where an Enterprise pub, the Greystones, has been let to the highly-rated Thornbridge Brewery. Both companies invested in improvements to the building and Thornbridge are now free to sell their own beers and can potentially access other speciality products. This is part of a wider welcome trend, other examples of which are Everard's Project William and Greene King's Local Heroes schemes.

We asked about the Five Bells Cherry Hinton where Enterprise are seeking change of use to residential. Paul said they had tried hard to make the pub viable but the serious crime which blighted the place a few years back seems to have been the last straw. Generally the company is anxious to work with licensees to make the most of their pubs by varying food and drink offerings or other means of gaining customers e.g. beer festivals.

We thanked Paul for coming along and look forward to continued liaison henceforth. The 20 pubs which Enterprise own locally are:

Brewery Tap, Waterbeach
Carlton, Emperor, Empress, King Street Run, Ranch and Med Cambridge plus the two Snug bars
Red Bull Newnham
Greyhound Sawston
Lion & Lamb and White Horse Milton
Plough Coton
Rose Stapleford
Rupert Brooke Grantchester
Three Horseshoes Comberton
Unicorn Trumpington
White Horse Swavesey
Volunteer Trumpington (currently operating as Bollywood Spice)