Published: 11:11, 26 November 2019
| Updated: 11:33, 26 November 2019
The licensees of Kent's only vegan pub have called time on the business after reporting a "quiet summer".
Tom Boughton and Jo Brookman had been running the 19th century Monument in St Dunstan's, Canterbury, which won acclaim for its completely vegan-only menu.
They had hoped the growing appeal of veganism would entice more customers.
But the couple have handed in their notice to owners Shepherd Neame and posted on the pub's Facebook page that after "difficult deliberations", they have left to pursue "fantastic personal opportunities".
Now Shepherd Neame says the pub no longer fits in with its current business strategy and the company plans to put it up for sale as a going concern in January.
In their Facebook post Tom and Jo said they spent the last two-and-a-half years "putting our love, energy and enthusiasm into our tiny pub to create a truly magical vegan enterprise within the city of Canterbury and we’ve enjoyed every minute."
But the couple had suggested that trading was tough in an earlier Facebook post in September, writing: "Many small businesses in Canterbury don’t have the luxury of being on well-trodden tourist routes, and like them, we’ve had a quiet summer because of that.
"We do still actively need the support of our local and vegan community otherwise independent businesses like us simply disappear overnight.
"With pubs going bust at a rate of 18 per week in the UK, if you want to see us stick around, much like other dietary specific businesses, you need to come and make the most of us."
The couple held a closing down party on Saturday, November 16, and Jo has announced that she has trained to become a personal fitness coach, also specialising in pole dancing fitness.
A Shepherd Neame spokesman said: “We can confirm that The Monument in Canterbury is currently closed, and will re-open in December under a temporary agreement.
"After careful consideration, the brewery has decided that the pub will go on sale in January, and will be sold as a going concern.
"It was not a decision taken lightly, but the pub does not fit with our current business strategy."