THE SAND MARTIN: BREWERY DEFENDS PUB NAMING

Thank you for your letter of 24th December 2010, in respect of the naming of our Sand Martin family dining, pub restaurant.

We fully respect your organisation’s opinion and preferences, but our practice is always to choose a non-partisan name for our outlets. In recent years we have chosen various combinations of birds, insects, animals etc. Hence in other food led outlets we have in South Wales, there is the Otter at Newbridge, the Willow Tree, Brynmawr, the Dragonfly, Merthyr Tydfil and the Bumble Bee at Blackwood etc. All are hugely popular and the generality of their names has not attracted any adverse comments.

We have already been lobbied to name our pub variously, The Leckwith, The Gareth Edwards or after one of a plethora of worthy Welsh rugby legends. So as not to offend any one organisation, we always choose not to align ourselves to a specific group or individual, no matter how noble or revered the cause.

For the purposes of absolute clarity, our pub restaurant is not a sports bar or a sports TV-led outlet. It is fundamentally, a family dining outlet where food will account for up to 70 per cent of the turnover. Indeed, on match day we will be at the mercy of the local constabulary as to whether alcohol can be sold at all, without a substantial meal, during specified hours.

Although, we appreciate that some may question the precise relevance of a ‘Sand Martin’ to this particular location, in reality, it is no more perplexing than would be a ‘Red Lion’, a ‘Flying Horse’ or one of many other wonderful and imaginative names that have become attached to public houses over the years. Accordingly, we aim to appeal to as broad a church of patrons as possible, by attempting not to cause offence or disrespect to any.

Overall, we are sorry that our naming protocol does not meet with your organisation’s preference. We assure you that our intention is to work with all good causes within the communities in which we serve. Whilst we may disagree, we hope you do appreciate the rationale behind our position.

We will watch the progress on your statue fund for Fred Keenor with interest, as we do historically support all charitable organisations, who adopt or utilise our premises as one of their basis of operation for fundraising.

We trust that once our pub restaurant is open in the spring, you and your members will visit The Sand Martin and experience Marston’s warm hospitality. It is our intention that we will become an asset to the City of Cardiff.

Derek Andrew MBE, Managing Director – Marston’s Inns and Taverns

Cardiff City Suppporters’ Trust board member Phil Nifield, who wrote to the brewery, said: “I am disappointed, but not wholly surprised, at the brewery’s decision. We don’t think the name proposed is appropriate for the location and felt The Fred Keenor or, indeed, The Bluebird would have been excellent choices.

“But I hope that Marston’s will now show their support for the Trust’s grassroots-led campaign to raise the £85,000 needed to erect a statue to Fred Keenor. The tribute to the captain of Cardiff City’s FA Cup winning team of 1927 will stand just a few yards from the pub. We are close to reaching half-way and would appreciate any support to get us closer to our target.”