The Bees' knees: Publican honoured for making Harthill's Beehive the borough's best

By Michael Upton | 08/03/2019

The Bees' knees: Publican honoured for making Harthill's Beehive the borough's best

PROUD publican Emma Swan (pictured) has been toasted by beer lovers for running the alehouse consistently hailed as Rotherham’s best.

The popular pint puller, who has worked in pubs almost all her adult life, was presented with a special award by Rotherham CAMRA after walking off with its prestigious pub of the year title five times.

The only time in the past six years The Beehive at Harthill missed out on the prize, it was because the village boozer was closed for a year for refurbishment.

Emma (37), whose late parents Jim and Hilary ran the pub for 15 years before handing over the reins, said: “They emailed me to ask if they could hold a branch meeting there and a couple of weeks later they said they wanted to present me with something but I didn’t know what it was until they took it out of the envelope.

“I thought it was a very nice thing for them to have done.

“I think my parents would be very proud as this award was for me and my family’s service to real ale and supporting CAMRA.”

Emma put the pub’s consistent popularity with CAMRA - it has also won three recent pub of the season titles - down to a combination of providing tasty ales which were well looked-after and providing a welcoming atmosphere.

“We would never want to serve a bad pint,” she said, adding that working for a brewery during the Beehive’s short-term closure had helped build her contacts in the industry and her knowledge of good brews to serve.

“The beer has to be right and well-kept \a- you can’t put a bad beer in a clean glass and make it a good one.”

Emma said she enjoyed a gin and tonic but was also partial to a darker beer during the winter and a pale, hoppy concoction when the weather improved.

Until its recent refurbishment, The Beehive was long known for its range of up to ten well-kept guest ales but the number has been reduced to three.

Among the regular tipples on offer are the ever-popular Beehive Blonde, which is brewed specially by Welbeck Abbey near Worksop.

The Beehive has a regular quiz night as well as a busy kitchen, while Emma has also organised a series of August bank holiday beer festivals with up to 70 varieties to try, which have raised thousands of pounds for charity.

Emma said her team of six bar staff prided themselves on their customer service, adding: “They all know people’s names and what they like to drink.”
The pub is one of two in the village \_ the other, The Bluebell, does not serve food.

“We don’t think of them as competition,” said Emma. “People will come in here and then go down there for a pint \_ we seem to work well together.”

Before taking over at Harthill, Jim and Hilary ran the Travellers Rest at nearby High Moor for ten years, so young Emma began working for the family business “probably earlier than I should have been”.

The landlady lives nearby with her beloved pointer dog Bella, who “pops in” to the bar occasionally but, unlike some pets, “is more interested in a ball than beer.”

Rotherham CAMRA said the special award was to commemorate the services of both Emma and her family to Rotherham CAMRA and the community of Harthill.

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