Green Jack Brewery staff Lee and Tim Dunford with Mick Atkins and Regimental Sergeant Major Chris Hopkin from the 3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment and the money raised through the sales of the Viking Strong Ale.

Picture: James Bass

Why Viking ale will be a tonic for the troops thanks to Lowestoft brewery

Friday, December 14, 2012
12.36 PM

Cheers to our troops!

A Lowestoft brewery has been raising more than a glass to the Royal Anglian Regiment by donating the proceeds from a beer brewed in its honour to its own benevolent charity.

Green Jack Brewery sold more than 14,000 pints and a limited number of bottles of its pale ale Viking – named after the nickname of the regiment’s 1st battalion – to raise £1,500 for troops and their families.

The brewery’s owner, Tim Dunford, and former Viking Mick Atkins came up with the idea during a summer beer festival at the Oddfellows pub in Pakefield, where Mr Atkins’s brother Charlie is the landlord.

The recipe for the refreshing real ale, which has an abv of 5pc and is made with German hops and lager malt, was created by the brewery’s youngest employee Sean Anderson specifically with thirsty soldiers in mind.

The Anglians’ Regimental Sergeant Major Chris Hopkins received the donation on the Vikings’ behalf on Tuesday.

He told The Journal: “The boys tried it when they came back from Afghanistan and they liked it.

“When you are in Afghanistan, the support you get from anyone back home is a massive boost. To come back and receive money from anybody who has done anything is a massive lift for the boys.”

“It makes them feel appreciated for what they are doing.”

Mr Atkins, who served in the 1st Battalion the Royal Anglians for 32 years, said: “At the Oddfellows, we do a lot of fund-raising anyway, mainly for Help for Heroes. They were getting a lot of money so I wanted to do something just for the Royal Anglians to help the soldiers in my old regiment.

“We are planning to support the regiment’s benevolent charity for the next couple of years now.”

Mr Dunford added: “It is a good cause and I’m really pleased it has been so successful.

“We tried to create a beer suitable for squaddies. We wanted something fairly lagery, pale and Germanic. When you are working like soldiers do you want something wet and cool that is thirst quenching.”

The 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment returned from a six-month tour of Helmand Province earlier this year. It was the battalion’s fourth and final tour before combat operations in Afghanistan end in 2014.

Since 2002, 16 soldiers from the regiment have been killed, and many more wounded, some grievously.

The Royal Anglian Regiment Benevolent Charity supports serving and former members of the regiment and their dependants who are in need, hardship or distress – many of them from this region.

Sgt Major Hopkins said that in the last six months 42 claims had been submitted with 30 people receiving pay-outs.

He added: “The money can be used for various things. If people fall on hard times or have an accident they can claim.

“After they are discharged they can still come back and claim for white goods and furniture for houses. If people are injured in the line of duty it can pay for anything they need, such as a car or house adaptation.

“If anyone does lose their life it can be used to help their families out. For example, each child gets £25,000 put into a trust fund for their future. The soldier’s wife and parents will be looked after as well.”

Publicans paid £5 extra to Green Jack for each cask of Viking they bought and the brewery added a further £2.50 to boost the fund-raising total The casks have all been sold but 750ml bottles of The Vikings limited edition ale are still available direct from the brewery for £5.87 each or £29.60 for six.