Second pub closes amid brewery row

The Doo'cot's landlord, Ian Byars, alongside Vikki Wood and Lesley Gilmore, former licencees of the Samuel Smith Brewery-owned Cramond Inn. Picture: Jon Savage
The Doo'cot's landlord, Ian Byars, alongside Vikki Wood and Lesley Gilmore, former licencees of the Samuel Smith Brewery-owned Cramond Inn. Picture: Jon Savage
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A POPULAR pub has become the second bar in the same chain to shut in less than a month amid claims of a “dispute” with the brewery.

The Doo’cot, on Ferry Road, closed its doors a week after the Cramond Inn shut when the landlord surrendered her licence after a disagreement with brewery bosses.

Both bars are owned by the Yorkshire-based Samuel Smith Brewery, and it is understood the closure of the Doo’cot followed an almost identical claim from the licence holder, who today said he “gave up everything for the pub”.

Ian Byars, 38, who been running the Doo’cot with his girlfriend for more than a year, formally handed his licence in to City Chambers this week, claiming the brewery failed to support his efforts to turn the fortunes of the pub around.

Business had appeared to be going well, he said, adding that he had received assurances from stock-takers that they were doing a “fantastic job”.

But when he received an unannounced visit from brewery boss Humphrey Smith, he said he had been told “it was last chance saloon”.

The bombshell news, said Mr Byars, contributed to the breakdown of the relationship with his business partner and girlfriend.

“Now my relationship is in tatters,” he said. “It all goes back to the last meeting with Mr Smith.

“It shocked us and brought us right back down.

“I gave up everything for the pub. I had started up my 
window-cleaning business right from the bottom, and built it up for seven years.”

Mr Byars had shared the premises’ licence with his girlfriend – who was later drafted in to Samuel Smith’s sister pub the Cramond Inn when previous landlord Lesley Gilmore, Mr Byars’ sister, was let go.

The landlords of both pubs have claimed mistreatment at the hands of the brewer and say they are owed thousands of pounds. Samuel Smith Brewery declined to comment when approached by Evening News.

It is thought the pub may reopen within weeks following the next licensing meeting.

Councillor Iain Whyte, who represents the ward, described the closure of the pub as a “miss for the community”.

He said: “It’s a popular pub and it’s got large family areas.

“Although there are some other pubs, most of them are quite a walk away.

“Hopefully, it will be back in use soon.

“It is not that long since it was heavily refurbished and I imagine it will be attractive for some one to run.”

The Doo’cot is understood to have been ranked among the top three in Edinburgh for sales of Scottish and Newcastle beer sales in the late 1970s.