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35 Jobs As Sonnet 43 Opens Second Brewery Tap & Restaurant

LOCAL food and local beer are the plans behind South Shields brothers’ regenerated pub.


From left: Tim Kilmartin, Mark Hird & Sean Kilmartin.

Some may recognise the building in Hebburn as the once popular local, Dougies Tavern. But after a decade of neglect, some original patrons were delighted with the rejuvenated venue. “The place has had a hell of a transformation,” said Ian Fisher, once a regular.

Managing Director of Tavistock Leisure, Mark Hird, hopes the White Lead will be “to regenerate people’s hearts and minds.”

The transformation of decor has been Tim Kilmartin’s baby, according to brother Sean, who is taking on the franchise in partnership, for the past couple of months, while the name may reflect on its old industrial heritage; the inside reverts to a far more a poetic British pub. Sean & Tim’s new business has directly created 35 jobs for the area, in addition to supporting further jobs by using local suppliers.

The bar holds 8 handpulls purposefully installed to keep The White Lead “well stocked with the real ale brewed merely 12 miles away” at Sonnet 43‘s Brew House. The premises hopes to serve a full range of the core cask brands, which include IPA, Blonde Beer, Brown Ale, Bourbon Milk Stout and American Pale Ale, at all times.

Also featured on the bar was Sonnet 43’s latest ‘Count The Beers’ special, Feeling Out Of Sight, a 5.0% Pacific Jade hopped beer. Michael Harker, Head Brewer at Sonnet 43 Brew House, said “We’d done some experimenting with American hops already, and wanted to expand that little bit further.”

“We’re doing something different that we haven’t tried before,” he added. “We weren’t going for a particular style of beer though it takes inspiration from an imperial red.”

Yet while pub-goer Victoria Dunn may see this pub as a “definite local”, The White Lead expects to see a lot of passing trade from diners. The venue provides an excellent venue in which the bar area is cut away from individuals who may just want to have a quiet meal. The ingredients are locally sourced from twenty two different suppliers, the clue to which is often in the name of the dish, such as Kielder Forest & Durham Ham and Pineapple Pizzas. But meals such as Steak and Sonnet 43 Pie are more reflective of Hird’s vision to have the food “fully compliment the beers”.

The White Lead is the second of three pubs that Hird hopes to be opening before the end of this year. “Work starts tomorrow” he told us when talking about the renovation of the brewery’s on-site pub, The Kicking Cuddy, which he hopes to have finished around mid-November. “If it’s not ready by then, I’ll leave it until early 2014,” he added, recognising that he wanted the pub to be “comfortably ready before Christmas” and not done as a rushed opening.

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