Licensing board backs micropub plan

Simon and Debbie Rutherford are turning a former knitwear shop in Kelso Market Square into Scotland's first micro-pub
Simon and Debbie Rutherford are turning a former knitwear shop in Kelso Market Square into Scotland's first micro-pub

A Berwickshire entrepreneur will open Scotland’s first micropub next month.

Scottish Borders Licensing Board has granted a drinks licence to Simon Rutherford.

Mr Rutherford and his wife Debbie, who live in Chirnside with their young daughter, will run Rutherfords Micropub in the former knitwear shop at 38 The Square in Kelso.

It represents a business departure for Edinburgh-born Mr Rutherford, who has operated a successful property development business for the past 13 years.

His most recent projects have included transforming a steading at Blackerstone, Abbey St Bathans into four large homes and the conversion of a Victorian schoolhouse in Berwick into five luxury apartments with three townhouses in the playground.

“I am passionate about the Borders and ensuring whatever I do is done to the highest possible standard with full consideration given to the local area and its people,” Mr Rutherford told the board.

Of his new venture, Mr Rutherford said: “We won’t sell alcopops, we won’t sell lager…there will be no television and no music.

“It will be small pub with a capacity of 30, serving good food and real ales sourced from local suppliers. I want to promote the lost art of conversation in a friendly atmosphere.”

In his submission, Mr Rutherford cited the success of The Curfew in Berwick which is currently Britain’s most northerly micropub.

“Six months on and it is a thriving business with a great base of friendly local patrons,” he said.

The licence was duly granted and Rutherfords Micropub will be able to operate daily from 11am till 10pm.

Mr Rutherford said the restricted opening hours were “designed to filter out binge drinkers and people chasing cheap, high alcohol shots etc”.

He said he expected his clientele to be “mainly middle-aged to elderly”.