Crown Wharf is much more than just a pub. What matters most to us, and many people in Stone is the return of Joule’s to the town that it is synonymous with.
A Sleeping Giant
Our now Managing Director, Steve Nuttall, first came across the Joule’s trademark when he was a young Marketing Manager working for Bass Brewers around 1990. Joule’s was always in the back of his mind, it irritated him that such an astonishing brand was left, literally, on the shelf. He made a call to an old friend, still in the marketing department and asked if Bass Brewers would sell the trademark, which they did, 18 years later…
The 4th Joule’s Brewery
In 2010 as soon as they had finished building the new Joule’s Brewery [technically the fourth, the first one was in Salford, the second created by Francis in Stone, prior to John making the third, obviously the largest] we looked to find a pub so we could have a presence in the brands home town of Stone. To find out more about the now 4th Joule’s Brewery head over to the Joules Brewery website.
The Perfect Plot
After a lot of searching, including Langtrys, The Crown and Anchor and The Crown Hotel, Joule’s pitched the idea to the Canal and River Trust to buy the land Crown Wharf now sits on which they supported in principle. In 2013 Steve enquired about Crown Wharf for the first time. DTZ confirmed it was available but a third party was already in discussions, due to a number of factors the Brewery expressed interest, but didn’t bid. Shortly after the site then went under offer anyway, so that was that. Three years later in 2016 when we were invited to Stone Food & Drink for the first time, Steve noticed the same DTZ for sale board, ever-present on the metal railings and wondered why nothing had happened. DTZ confirmed the site was under offer, but not yet sold. A little googling and we found that planning consent had been refused and the town council had established the Crown Wharf Steering Group, with the sole purpose of promoting a use that would bring the Wharf into the town centre landscape. Steve met Rob Kenney and Jill Hood, who chaired the Steering Group a month later, they were supportive from the beginning. At the same time, the Revellers had also made contact with Rob, so we both joined up.
An Interest in Stone Once More
On the 7th of December 2017 the announcement was made that Joule’s Brewery had acquired Crown Wharf, once again Joule’s owned a small part of the old Brewery site, and we had an interest in Stone. Before Crown Wharf Joule’s had only ever refurbished pubs. In this case, there is nothing to refurbish, on one hand that’s great, there is an opportunity to build the perfect pub, perfectly designed in every way. It will be our choices that define everything, it could be perfect, so a blank piece of paper is a bit daunting, it is the ultimate test. It was the weight and the joy of the Joule’s history that formed the inspiration for the design. The design aims to capture the sense of stature and pride of the Joule’s mark. The old Joule’s stores next door are the most important reference, the architectural pride and attention to detail of that building is mesmerising. The dramatic roofline, the finals, the trademark cross worked into the brickwork, even the roof tiles all reveal a passion for the brand and the endeavour of brewing.
In January 2019 planning permission was granted and works began on site straight away. Progress was steady and by October 2019 the steel frame of the Taphouse was completed. Then 2020 hit, our first national Lockdown meant progress had to slow down onsite to a skeleton team of two lone joiners. Plans for an October 2020 opening soon slipped away…
The First Pint
Finally on the 20th of July 2021 at 11 am, the day after restrictions lifted to the country, Crown Wharf opened its doors to the public. Joule’s was back in Stone at last. The first pint was served to William Smith aka Billy Bass who Brewed for Joule’s from 1957 to 1974.