The Cornish coast

Cheers to Cornwall

Something special is brewing on the south coast of Cornwall. We drive down to the small town of St Austell in an Audi Q2 Edition No. 1 to find out what’s in the water... or beer in this case!

Pulling pints at the Polgooth Inn

The Tribute Cornish Ale sign at Polgooth Inn

The Polgooth Inn near St Austell in Cornwall is the type of cosy country pub where you want to whittle away the hours on a brisk winter’s day, nursing a quaffable pint while sitting by a log fire. It has occupied the same spot for more than 300 years and is currently run by tenant landlord Alex Williams and his wife. Under the pair’s astute management the Polgooth Inn has become one of the most successful pubs in the area and lures locals and visitors in by droves. But Alex knows that it’s not simply his warm hospitality that keeps punters coming back.

‘Tribute Cornish Pale Ale is the star of the show,’ he says, pouring an amber pint behind his bar. ‘It’s like a beacon shining out at customers from the top of the pump. That’s why we make sure all of our staff are highly trained and knowledgeable. It’s their job to represent the product to the customer and make sure it tastes as good as when it left the brewery.’

Hops at the St Austell Brewery

St Austell Brewery machinery

On board the Audi Q2 Edition No. 1 we are driving today it takes less than 10 minutes to go from the pub to the St Austell Brewery, where the ale is made, in the small town’s centre. This company was originally founded in 1851 by Cornishman Walter Hicks and is still owned and run by the family. In 2017 it posted record turnover figures of 153 million and employs nearly 1600 people. At the heart of this success lies Tribute Ale, its 4.2 per cent Cornish pale ale, which represents more than two thirds of the its sales.

‘Tribute was the brainchild of our head brewer Roger Ryman,’ explains St Austell Marketing Director Jeremy Mitchell. ‘Roger created Tribute to celebrate a solar eclipse and it went on to be a wild success.’

St Austell Brewery keg

St Austell Brewery's Jeremy Mitchell

Aside from making top-quality beer, there is another reason why St Austell Brewery has been so successful. The company has actually sparked a business revolution based on the theory that local is best. And with more than 150 years of prosperity it seems like this simple philosophy works.

‘We’re basically super proud to be Cornish,’ explains Jeremy. ‘Every activity we do starts off from grass roots. When we want to do something we look at who we can partner with locally and then go from there. This focus on engaging local stakeholders means we are built on solid and stable relationships that thrive though mutual benefit. In terms of marketing it’s a dream. Consumers are increasingly identifying with authentic brands with real stories and you can’t really get more authentic than us.’ Words by John Silcox. Photographs by Alexander Rhind.


Find out more about the Audi Q2 Edition #1