Written and directed by James Coyne, Dan Eycott, and Syd Heather, inspired by the original micropub craze in Kent, three entrepreneurial Londoners decide to open their very own micropub and revitalise their high streets through a love of real ale, conversation and community spirit. Featuring interviews with micropub creator Martyn Hillier, brewing author Ken Smith and broadcaster Jaega Wise.
There’s no denying that a huge part of Britain is pub culture, having somewhere to grab a pint with friends, watch the football or have some classic British food. However, it’s an experience that’s been vastly commercialised by a rapid rise in chains and micropubs represent a return to the traditional experience. It’s the key to the success of this documentary, its community spirit, passion for the craft and overall positive energy. A quick comparison that could easily be made is, someone any British cooking show fan will know, The Hairy Bikers, forever celebrating the best of British and ready to roll their sleeves up and muck in. It’s not all rose-coloured, those starting micropubs face a number of struggles and bureaucratic nonsense, so it strikes a nice balance of enthusiasm, support and the frustrations of reality.
It’s also great to see how down to earth the filmmakers keep both the style and atmosphere. It follows a well known pattern to documentaries but at the same time, its homemade, independent spirit permeates everything and stops it from ever feeling too structured or formulaic, there’s a flexibility to it. The only drawback with exploring different people in similar circumstances is that it can feel slightly repetitive at times, which slows things down a little.
Following the business side is a nice touch, letting the audience get a snapshot of how each person has gone from A to B. It’s a lovely experience to hear how each of them started the business, what inspired them and how dedicated they are to making it work. Especially with Lucy Do, owner of The Dodo, who truly embraces the different aspects of the business, recognises what her customers want and enjoy, and pushes to give them more. It shows how micropubs are capitalising on changing appetites, craft beer and ales have boomed over the last few years and people are passionate about what they drink.
Micropubs: The New Local is a wonderful example of British ingenuity, how everyday people have thrown their all into recapturing the pub experience. It has a terrifically enthusiastic and positive energy, with a humble atmosphere and a strong community spirit. It will undoubtedly make you want to visit one for yourself.