Mr Muscle Campaign – July-August
The Baum: British Pub of the Year

Customer Profile: British pub of the year

Rochdale couple Simon and Heidi Crompton can legitimately stake a claim for the title of hosts with the most a‡fter their pub, The Baum, beat 50,000 other UK hostelries to win CAMRA’s British pub of the year award.

As well as beer quality, CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) judging criteria also assessed atmosphere, décor, welcome, service and value for money. Says Heidi: “We’re ecstatic to have won. It’s really thanks to our customers because through listening to them and working to give them what they want, we’ve become the pub we are today.” And according to Heidi, what customers want is a traditional pub serving real ales, real cider and quality continental lagers – drinks you cannot buy in your local supermarket – alongside home-cooked food in a fruit machine, jukebox and pool table-free atmosphere that allows for a good chat. Says Heidi: “We’re just off the town centre and are therefore not part of the weekend pub crawl route. Instead, we’re a destination pub. People come for the night to have a drink, eat and talk.”

The Baum, which is a customer of Total Foodservice, has seven hand pumps for real ale and one for real cider and over 30 continental draught and bottled lagers. It always has one pump dedicated to a beer from Rochdale brewery Green Mill and another to a beer from neighbouring Heywood brewery Phoenix but the ales it serves are constantly changing. To help its clientele try its range of beers and lagers, it offers a taster rack whereby they can buy just a third of pint measure.

The meat, vegetables and much of the other food it serves is locally sourced. Alongside its bar menu, it has a specials board that the two chefs change on a weekly basis and it offers sharing plates of tapas-size menu favourites to again let customers sample as much of
what The Baum has to offer as possible. Being next door to Rochdale’s Heritage Museum, which is the site of the country’s founding Co-op store, the pub o‡en hosts tandem events such as historical lectures and also links with the local library so it’s a venue for literary evenings. In addition, the local Round Table meets there as does a cra‡ group, a ladies’ group and others.

All full-time staff are given cellar training and are encouraged to take NVQs in hospitality and catering management. Among the staff
is Heidi’s mum, Pauline, who both cleans and helps in the kitchen. Heidi and Simon only became The Baum’s proprietors just over seven years ago, although Simon has been a familiar face there for 20 years, working first as a barman and then as its manager. Says Heidi: “When we took over, there were just two hand pumps so we’ve gradually increased our ale offering in line with the growing demand for real ales.

“Since the award, as well as more local people, we have had customers who have travelled from all over Lancashire, Yorkshire and
Cheshire to try us out. We even had a couple from Cornwall who were visiting relations in Bolton but detoured to us first!”
In adding its congratulations to The Baum, Maria Moriarty Eames, of Total Foodservice, says: “We’re delighted for The Baum and
offer our congratulations to them. It is fantastic to see our customers being recognised for their hard work and putting themselves and local food provenance on the map. By gaining publicity for themselves through awards such as this it is only of benefit to all local food businesses as we see more visitors from further afield turning their attention to the fantastic hospitality and food provision we have in
the North of England.”

For further info on The Baum, which is in Toad Lane, Rochdale OL12 0NU, visit www.thebaum.co.uk. To contact Total Foodservice visit www.totalfoodservice.co.uk.

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