A Norfolk brewer, which runs a pub in Norwich, has recorded a 30pc rise in sales – with the biggest increase coming from the demand for its locally-produced cask ale.

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Owners of the Grain Brewery said profits were boosted by the appointment of salesman Tom Hanna, who joined the company in May. As well as its brewery at Alburgh, near Harleston, the company also owns the 16th century pub the Plough on St Benedicts Street in Norwich.

The announcement of its success will come as welcome news to the pub and brewery industry after a report warned last month against the number of pubs being converted into supermarket convenience stores – including the The Firs pub in Hellesdon, which has been converted into a Tesco Express. The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) urged the government to change planning laws, which it said were allowing major supermarket chains and developers an “easy route” to changing the use of pubs.

Speaking about his role at Grain, which has its brewery at Alburgh, near Harleston, Mr Hanna said: “You can’t beat sitting down with friendly people and chatting over a beer, and that’s pretty much what my job is all about. I’ve been delighted so far by the brilliant feedback I’ve been getting from customers and consumers alike.”

The enterprise was set up by Geoff Wright, who is the landlord at the Plough, and Phil Halls who runs the brewery side. Its range of beers include the Redwood, a red premium bitter, and a 4pc Blonde Ash Wheat Beer.

This year, the company won the Best Drinks Producer for 2012 at the Norfolk Food and Drink Awards sponsored by Evening News’s sister title the Eastern Daily Press.

The Evening News’s Love Your Local Campaign aims to get punters back into pubs or risk them losing for good. For stories about the campaign, visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal

Have you got a pubs story for the Evening News campaign? Call David Bale on 01603 772427.

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