Astonishingly the annual rateable value of the Brown Jug in the 1891 licensing renumerations is a colossal £190.0s.0d. This evaluation for a modest licensed beer house seems excessive. I cannot explain the inflated amount and it is tempting to assume that is an administrative error, the value of £19.0s.0d. being more in keeping with the property and its location. Twelve years later in 1903 the annual rateable value is set at a more realistic £17.0s.0d.
Adolphus White is listed as a brewer at the Brown Jug in 1901. This is also open to question as Adolphus died on 8th April 1895! This discrepancy shows how contemporary records can be misleading, if not totally inaccurate! Adolphus was born in Cheltenham in 1841, so he would have been 54 when he died. He and his wife Annie (nee Baylis) had ten children which they brought up in the Brown Jug.
In the 1891 licensing book the Brown Jug is owned M.A. Walters which she leased to Cripps & Co. Presumably this is the Cripps of the Cirencester Brewery.
Just two years later in 1903 the pub was tied to Walter Buckle. There is no further reference to Cripps & Co or the Cirencester Brewery. It is possible that Walter Buckle was continuing brewing beer on the premises.
The ales were later supplied by Allsopp’s of Burton on Trent, and in turn by the Burton Ind Coope Brewery. In the early 1980’s the Brown Jug was branded as a Halls Oxford and West Brewery pub. A plaque was inlaid into the wall.
The Brown Jug is now owned by Wadworth & Co of Devizes.
When the smoking ban was enforced in July 2007 many pub landlords were adamant that the ban would adversely affect their trade and loyal customers who enjoyed a ciggie would be outraged by having to go outside to enjoy their nicotine fix. Not so Matt Birch at the Brown Jug who welcomed the legislation. He said: “We’re getting a lot more customers and it’s a lot more family orientated. I haven’t heard any customer complain whatsoever. It’s the law and we should change with time.”
A food review in the Gloucestershire Echo in July 2010 noted that ‘just a short walk from Cheltenham town centre is the popular Bath Road. With its variety of shops and range of pubs, it has fashioned itself into a thriving little community. Spoilt for choice on where to go for some decent grub, we opted for the Brown Jug. It’s a cosy little place and, even going on a Monday when you would expect bars to be somewhat deserted, was buzzing with regulars. Inside the décor is unfussy, light and airy and it has seating outside.’
The Olympic Torch Relay procession passed through the town on May 23rd, 2012. The grand finale was held at Cheltenham Racecourse, but throughout the route the procession had been well attended with cheering crowds on every street corner. The whole of the Bath Road was packed with flag waving crowds and impromptu events were very much part of the celebrations. A three-piece band called Boutique were playing live music in the Brown Jug to entertain customers. As the Torch Relay approached Bath Road the band moved outside to join in with the fun. This was brought to the attention of licensing bosses at the Council who threatened to take legal action against the Brown Jug as the necessary Outdoor Entertainment Licence had not been applied for. A disillusioned Matt Birch, manager of the Brown Jug, said: “It seems incredibly mean-spirited to come down on us for something which was a real positive for the community. This is the Olympic Games and it’s the only time an event like this is going to happen within a generation. I accept that I could have planned things better, but the truth is the band went outside to play in a spontaneous way and we all got caught up in the mood of celebration.” Luckily common sense prevailed, and the legal action was dropped. A spokesman for licensing said: “The view was taken that this was a one-off event and Mr Birch is well aware of the rules for any future events.”
Matt Birch was keen to revitalise summer skittles at the Brown Jug in March 2013. Cheltenham had a thriving winter skittles league, but Matt wanted to se more players trying the sport in the summer. He said: “As pubs have been closing in the recession and skittle alleys turning into restaurants and function rooms, we want to make the most of the alley we have got here.” He added, “It is a good chance to socialise, meet new people and have some fun.
In August 2016 the pub had a complete makeover and transformation and reopened as the Sup & Chow. The new business was the inspiration of Vicky Martin who had previously ran her own guest house in South Africa and she worked in partnership with brewers Wadworth & Co. to breath new life into the Brown Jug. She said: “Sup & Chow is the fulfilment of a life-long dream. I have always thought that a pub should be at the heart of the community and I think that sometimes this has been lost. I want to create a place for people to gather, unwind, celebrate and enjoy the everyday and special occasions of life.” A restaurant review in the ‘Gloucestershire Echo’ commented that ‘as you walk in it still feels like a traditional pub with regulars gathered at the bar. But as you walk through to the back, the mood lighting lifts to reveal a bright new dining area where the skittle alley used to be. The narrow outside has also been given a facelift with over-sized colourful cushions adding a splash of colour to the furniture and a nautical theme with exposed light bulbs dangling down and a ship wheel mounted on the wall. Breakfast is served from 8 am until 10.30 am, or 11 am on Sunday, and then the Grazing, Sharing and Small Plates menu kicks in from noon to 9 pm. These include a Charcuterie board with cured meats, pickle and chutney, Nachos, Baked Camembert and Atlantic prawns.’
Football legend and racing fanatic Michael Owen visited Sup and Chow in December 2017 to present Vicky Martin with an award launched by BT Sport via Twitter to recognise pub landlords who actively promote and deliver sports to their customers. The former Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle and Stoke City striker who also scored 40 goals for England, presented Vicky with a BT Sport’s Manager of the Month trophy and a brand new 4K TV for the pub. Bruce Cuthbert, BT’s director of commercial customers said: “Pubs are at the heart of their communities and sport is a fantastic way of bringing people together.”
In the autumn of 2019 the pub was being rebranded back to the Brown Jug.
Landlords at the Brown Jug include:
1861 Thomas Clarke
1881,1895 Adolphus White – listed as a brewer in 1901(but he died in 1895!)
1900 Annie White (widow)
1903,1906 Henry Bristow Harbourn
1919 Philip Williams
1927 William Charles Cook
1939 William Woolridge
1977 Derek and Shirley Brimfield (Derek died on 25th May 2019, aged 84)
1997 Peter Harris and Jeanne Hicks
2006,2010 Matt Birch (previously at the Beehive in Montpellier)
2016 Vicky Martin (Sup & Chow)