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Pair return home to run Trout Inn at Wansford

With fond memories of visiting The Trout Inn for family celebrations and meals out, the pub’s new owners say they are looking forward to seeing the doors back open and welcoming returning customers, as well as meeting new ones.

Former Driffield and East Riding residents Paul Anderson and Ian Merchant are the proud new owners of the pub in Wansford.

Currently both living in New Zealand, the two businessmen are looking forward to reconnecting with their home communities and bringing new life back into the pub which holds a special place in both their hearts.

The Trout has been closed since 2021 when previous owners Keith and Marie Robinson made the difficult decision to sell their beloved business and home due to a combination of lockdown restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic and health problems. Sadly, Keith passed away in November 2021.

The Trout’s new owners are hoping they can bring a fresh approach to the pub, while maintaining its traditional values.

Paul was born in Driffield and lived in Hutton Cranswick until he was five when he moved to Skerne, where he lived until moving to Driffield when he was 16.

He has many special memories of visiting The Trout when he was younger.

“I first went to The Trout for Christmas dinner when I was five,” he reminisced.

“We also went for my grandparents’ golden wedding anniversary.

“We used to go there often as I grew up and I always had a T-Bone steak. It was a favourite place of my grandparents and so we got to know Keith quite well, in addition one of our neighbours Mary Harvey worked there for many years.”

Fellow owner Ian was raised and attended school in the Beverley area and played football, cricket, rugby and golf in Beverley and Driffield.

Having worked on a number of farms in the area, he settled in Driffield, where his three children were born.

“During this time we would attend The Trout for family functions and celebrations and I have fond memories of my times there,” recalled Ian.

“I am now focussed on seeing The Trout back open and serving the local community once again.”

Paul and Ian both moved to New Zealand – Ian in 2003 and Paul 16 years ago – and it is there where they developed their passion and talent for brewing and distillery.

This passion has formed their plans to install both a craft distillery and craft brewery at The Trout.

Paul said: “I have owned a restaurant in New Zealand for nearly 11 years as well as other businesses; my restaurant has the largest beverage collection in New Zealand and one of the largest whisky collections in the world, with over 1,300 whiskies.

“I am a trained distiller and Ian a trained brewer and we will be installing both a craft distillery and craft brewery at the Trout.”

Ian added: “Paul and I were friends in Driffield and our friendship continued in New Zealand.  We have worked together across several businesses for many years.

“I have long been a keen home brewer and when the opportunity arose I started brewing craft beers in New Zealand and we are looking forward to bringing this to The Trout.”

With plans still in the early stages, Paul and Ian say there is some work to do to modernise the pub and install solar power.

However, they are hopeful it will be back open to customers around October and can’t wait to become part of the local community.

Paul added: “We will be installing solar and modernising The Trout but will definitely be keeping the local feel for the place; we intend this to be a place for locals.

“We are hoping to be open by October, there is a significant amount of work to do, roof, windows, solar, brewery, distillery, redecoration, heating, new bar and function area.

“But we are excited to get going. I have many fond memories of The Trout and growing up in the area and wanted to settle back there where I feel at home.”

Ian said he is looking forward to seeing The Trout back open for business.

“As Paul mentioned, there is a bit of remedial work ahead of us,” he said.

“But we are very much looking forward to seeing the doors open, connecting with the community, our old friends and making new ones.”

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