We went to check out the newest edition to Birmingham’s beer scene and a bar with a difference! The Good Intent recently opened in the iconic Great Western Arcade in October and is the UK’s first not-for-profit bar, donating all of its profits to charities and good causes. The bar was created by David Craddock who owns Craddock’s Brewery, alongside four award-winning pubs in Black Country, Worcestershire and Shropshire.
On walking in, the interior aesthetically matches the ambience of the victorian arcade which dates back to 1876. A wooden floor meets black and white checked tiles and a bar on the right with six cask hand pulls and five keg lines. The back of the bar has an intriguing mix of green tiles and mirrors, surrounded by a large selection of wines and spirits. A raised area on the left adds to this traditional look with cask barrels racked behind a pane of glass, ready to go!
The furniture fits in perfectly with a mix of pews, wooden panelling and green leather-covered seating. There’s a line of bar seats that look out onto the arcade where you can enjoy a beer, relaxing while watching the hustle and bustle passing by.
It’s not really until you climb the wooden staircase that you realise the sheer size of this place, plenty more green seating, bare brick and even some kind of organ! Sitting on one of the seats was David Craddock, trying to catch up from what has been an insane couple of weeks. He grabbed me a coffee… we’d be getting a proper brew later, leaning back and reminiscing, David told me how this awesome idea came about.
“I’ve got four pubs and a brewery and if you’re not happy with four pubs and a brewery then you’ll never be happy! I thought that’s enough for anyone, there’s too many people striving for something else and not realising what they’ve got. So it’s that simple really!”
“I found out that a friend of a friend had secretly been volunteering at an old people’s home for years and it made me think – I’ll just find something else that’s nice to do. It then occurred to me that I wasn’t going to give up my Saturday every week to give an old man a bath, so eventually, I worked out that I’ll stick to the skills that I’ve got and I’ll do what I’m good at.”
The Good Intent received a lot of support from commercial agreements which was fantastic, but David couldn’t get over the generosity of the general public raising a whopping £18,000!
“The crowdfunder was really helpful, with strangers giving us money… one lad has given us £2,000, and we’ve never even met him before, someone else has given us £4,300, and these are people who aren’t set to gain anything! It isn’t giving someone a tenner, this is giving a tenner that’s going to produce a tenner, we’ve signed a 15- year lease and I want this to outlive me. This is a kind of Bruces’ Millions idea. If my kids are going to keep on running four pubs and a brewery, I want them to keep this one going and keep giving the money away.”
But like with any pub there’s been plenty of challenges along the way.
“It was meant to be a three-month build and it took nearly four months and when our rent-free period came to an end, the pressure was on. But since opening, the response has been very positive and the exciting bit will be when we are able to start allocating the money.
He also told me what percentage he expects to be going to all of the good causes.
“After you’ve allocated all of the money from the sale of the pint, to percentages going on staff, rent, etc, you’re generally looking to keep about 8-10% as profit, so it’s generally the head on your beer.”
We were really impressed by the place, hats off David for making this awesome, charitable idea a reality. Next time you’re in Birmingham City Center head down to The Good Intent, grab a beer safe in the knowledge that you’re enjoyment is helping a good cause!