A COUNTRY pub on a busy main road near Malvern, which unexpectedly closed at the end of March, is reopening with new tenants today (Saturday June 17).

Steve Moorman and Viki Kuhlke will be opening the doors at the Red Lion, Stifford’s Bridge, Cradley, from 6pm to welcome back former regulars and new customers.

They are hoping to ensure the pub becomes the hub of the local community and want to work with as many local groups and societies as possible while offering a traditional village pub atmosphere with good beer and food for all comers.

Steve said: “We want the Red Lion to be a traditional village pub, selling good beer and food. The pub should be the hub of a community like Cradley and we want to involve as many local groups and societies as possible.”

Originally from the Black Country, he boasts a strong background in keeping ales and was the licensee at The Port ‘n Ale, near Dudley, which featured 14 rolling guest beers. He also offered his personal favourite Bathams as a stock bitter.

He is a founder member of the British Institute of Innkeeping and has kept more than 3,000 different cask ales in his time behind the bar.

Steve and Viki most recently ran bars and hotels in Greece and decided to come back to the UK last October. After seven months in East Sussex, they secured the tenancy of the Red Lion and are now eager to get started.

At the Red Lion Steve aims to concentrate on local breweries for rotating guest ales as well as a wider range of beers with at least one monthly special from further afield.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the standard and variety of the local breweries in this area,” he added. “I always like to meet the brewers personally and discuss the various options with them.”

Viki will be offering a choice of home cooked meals including her steak and ale pie - a new addition to the menu. There will also be home-made cottage pie, lasagne and chilli. Sunday roasts will also be available once the kitchen is fully operational.

She said: “The response to the pies in our previous pub was amazing. It was sometimes difficult to keep up with demand”.

The couple have also built a new website for the pub which will be published shortly and are keeping customers updated via social media sites such as Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/StiffordsBridgeMalvern/ - and Twitter.

Viki, originally from Liverpool, said: “We are thrilled to be here and really excited about running the pub. The local people have been so nice and everyone has been really welcoming. I love this part of the country.”

Open Mic nights and entertainment are planned, along with community events.