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Boss of gin firm thinks he has found missing historic item for brewery collector

PUBLISHED: 15:08 06 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:09 06 April 2020

Chairman of Bullards gin, Russell Evans, thinks he may have a historic beer tray for a collector. Pic: Archant

Chairman of Bullards gin, Russell Evans, thinks he may have a historic beer tray for a collector. Pic: Archant

The chairman of Bullards gin may hold the key to finding a historic item which is being tracked down by a collector.

A Bullards' tray similar to the one a collector is trying to track down.
Pic: Richard PercivalA Bullards' tray similar to the one a collector is trying to track down. Pic: Richard Percival

Richard Percival, who collects beer trays, appealed to this newspaper for help to find a rare edition with Bullards’ logos.

The tray depicts the ‘Fat Man’ character who was created from a doodle by the famous artist Alfred Munnings but went on to become the brewery’s logo for 60 years.

And after a little investigation it appears the tray exists in Norwich.

The old Bullards brewery in Norwich. Pic: ArchantThe old Bullards brewery in Norwich. Pic: Archant

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Russell Evans, the chairman of Bullards gin who owns the original brewery name, believes he has the very tray.

“I think it’s in the distillery and I’ll hook up with Mr Percival when we get back to more normal times.”

Richard Percival, who is hunting down the Bullards beer tray. Pic: Richard PercivalRichard Percival, who is hunting down the Bullards beer tray. Pic: Richard Percival

Over the years the much-loved caricature the Fat Man became a symbol of good Norfolk ale – welcoming both regulars and visitors to Bullards’ pubs across the city and county.

Now Mr Percival, who has around 1,300 trays, is hoping to find the tray which has a black back, is quite heavy and rectangular in shape.

“If that is the one it will be incredible,” said Mr Percival. “Like most of the British population I am stuck at home looking for things to occupy my time due to coronavirus. I have Britain’s biggest collection of brewery trays including quite a few from ex Norwich breweries.

“While I have time I decided to try and track down around 80 trays across the country which are still missing from my collection.

The old Bullards brewery in Norwich. Pic: ArchantThe old Bullards brewery in Norwich. Pic: Archant

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“There’s one particular tray I know exists because I once saw it at a car boot sale but missed it by five minutes.”

Mr Percival doesn’t have a picture of the exact tray but has one like it.

Mr Evans rekindled Bullards after he reregistered the name and bought the rights in 2015,

His gin bottles are inspired from old Bullards beer bottles with the shape reflecting the famous Bullards chimney stack that towered over Norwich for more than 100 years.

The logo is a ‘tipsy anchor’ taken from the original Anchor Brewery brand in 1837.

Mr Percival has been collecting beer trays since he was 19, buying them online from around the world.


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