THE owner of a micro pub in Christchurch is putting the community at the heart of his business in more ways than one.

Lee Price, who took over the Saxon Bar in February this year, puts "historic pub culture" at the heart of his work and he is hoping to provide a service people can consistently enjoy.

He also recently launched the Sixpenny Brewery bitter, Local Hero, dedicated to the Royal Marine Lt John ‘JT’ Thornton, who was killed in Afghanistan in March 2008.

"The idea of starting a brewery coincided with JT's death," Lee said.

"I always envisaged having the picture on the pump clip and I will be putting money into charity, but the brewery didn't come off.

"I had to find what beer John would have drunk and it came to light he really loved his traditional beers, so then the search was on and it had to be local.

"With the values of micro pubs it will cycle round between several old-fashioned style beers."

Lee worked with John's father Peter, grew to be good friends with the family and can still recall sinking to his knees when being told the 22-year-old had died while serving his country.

From every pint of Local Hero sold at Saxon Bar, 20 pence will go to the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation.

Lee said: "When the charity was set up I said I wanted to do something for them because they mean so much to me. JT was a perfect gentlemen.

"I wanted to do something significant and meaningful, and as soon as I took over the pub I was determined to make it happen."

Five months in to running the micro pub Lee is yet to take a salary from running the business.

However, he says the positive feedback from customers in person and online has been a real success over the first few months.

Lee admits having a long-established fascination with the hospitality industry through his wife's work, saying it is one of the few fields where people come to you to be pleased.

"I liked the idea of running a pub and we came across the idea of a micro pub," he said.

"It is about the beer, the product, the community and the people.

"We have regulars who don't know each other but they come in, sit down and talk with each other, which gives me a real buzz. You are bringing a community together.

"We are not a cafe culture, and I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that, but historically we've been a pub culture."

"Being completely new to the game you have to find your feet," he added.

"As a customer, which is what I was, you know what you want a pub to be and you expect you can build the business from that, but there are other facets you have to think about. "We still get people coming in saying they don't know they are here. Before I took over this place had still been here two years.

"Marketing really is one of the biggest challenges."