Colin Keatley, who grew up in Hingham, started his pub career at the age of 16, working behind the bar at his father's pub near Covent Garden in London.
His parents had split up while he was a teenager, and in search for his first job, headed for the capital, where his father had started managing his own bar.
But he revealed: "My dream had actually always been to be an auctioneer, my family had been big friends with Nobles Auctioneers and being around the auctioneers had inspired a passion in me.
"But when I got to London, my dad gave me two weeks to find a job and when I couldn't he put me behind the bar with him and that is where I have been ever since."
At the age of just 21 he became the licensee of the New Savoy Tavern near London's Savoy Hotel, quite a feat for someone so young.
After eight years at the New Savoy Tavern, where he met his wife, Marjory, who was then a student, Colin returned to Norfolk in 1980 and bought the White Lion in Oak Street Norwich with financial help from his parents.
He said: "I wanted to make a return to Norfolk because it's where I had grown up. I had such fond memories of my childhood there, and I had a new dream of owning my own pub."
The pub was run down when he bought it, but he built up the trade, latching on to the revival of interest in real ales.
In 1991 came a new project, when he bought the freehold of the New Inn in 1991, closed it and converted it into the Fat Cat.
Since Colin took over, the venue has been named in the Good Pub Guide's beer pub of the year for 2008 and has twice been Camra's national pub of the year.
In 2004 he embarked on a new venture and bought the Wherry pub in Sprowston Road.
Away from the pub scene Colin says he likes to take things easy and his hobbies have included collecting classic cars, including Mini Coopers and Alfa Romeos, although he has none at the moment. His other passion is travelling.
He said: "I have been lucky in that I have been able to go to some wonderful places such as New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam and one of my aims in the future is to travel more."
But his customers need not fear, because for now at least, he says he is staying put.
He said: "I wake up every morning and I look forward to work, you cannot ask for anything more than that."