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Black Country Ale Tairsters become film stars after visiting 20,000th pub

By Richard Guttridge | Featured articles | Published:

A group of Black Country pub-crawlers who have stopped off at an astonishing 20,000 boozers have now become film stars.

Pete Hill, centre, and the Black Country Ale Tairsters celebrated at their 20,000th pub at The Knot & Plough in Stafford

The exploits of the Black Country Ale Tairsters will be shown on the big screen after capturing the attention of a film-maker.

The group originally planned to visit 300 pubs on a map issued by Wolverhampton brewer Banks's but, like the beer they were drinking, they got a taste for it and just kept on going.

More than 30 years on, they have popped in at more than 20,000 watering holes across the UK.

Fascinated by their years of pub crawling, Ross Harrison contacted the group's co-founder Pete Hill about the possibility joining them on their travels for a short film.

He spent two years following the group for the film.

WATCH the film following the exploits of the Black Country Ale Tairsters

The 23-minute documentary catches up with the Tairsters as they tour pubs in a minibus as far north as the Shetland Islands, delving into their pub-crawling history, and reveals the views of the key players on how they have managed to keep going for so long.

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It had its first public screening at a pub in London on Tuesday and will now tour film festivals, as well as being available to watch for free online.

Film-maker Ross said: "This film came about when I read about a group of men from West Bromwich who had travelled nearly 300,000 miles visiting pubs across the country.

"I decided to contact Pete and see if he would let me film his story. When I first visited and saw his reams of records documenting decades of trips he has been on, as well as seeing what an energetic and friendly person he is to be around, I knew there was an interesting film to be made.”

Raising a glass to a pub-tastic challenge

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Thanks to Pete's meticulous record-keeping of the group's travels, the film has been able to show photographs of scores of the pubs visited over the years, many of which have since closed.

Retired engineer Pete, aged 61, from West Bromwich, who has knocked back close to 50,000 pints since the tour of a lifetime began in 1984, said: "He had seen an article about us travelling 300,000 miles. We thought he would come once or twice but he was with us for two years. We are now good friends."

On his 15 minutes of fame, the father-of-two joked: "I don't think I've got the looks to be a film star."

He added: "Ross spent a long time with us and I think he has done a good job with it."

The group mark visiting their 20,000 pub

The pub tour will rumble on to Hull over Christmas. Pete admits the pub crawling spiralled out of control and admits he does envisage ending the tour at some point.

He said: "Going round all these islands, I don’t know if I should have started it. But it’s something that I’ve started and I will finish it. I do intend to slow down.”

Tom Stainer, editor of the Campaign for Real Ale's What's Brewing & Beer magazine, said: "This is a film which successfully and warmly captures the heart, comradeship and sheer enjoyment that pubs inspire.

"Peter’s impressive, dedicated and dare I say it, slightly obsessive, journey highlights how pubs are far more than just places to drink."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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