A £50,000 grant from the New Anglia Growth Hub has helped a small brewery successfully diversify during the pandemic.

Duration Brewery launched in December 2019 just months before Covid restrictions shut down much of the hospitality sector.

Although the Norfolk-based brewery did not need to close during lockdown, the business struggled to sell its beer and get new equipment delivered.

Miranda Hudson, who owns Duration Brewery alongside her partner Derek Bates, said: “With pubs opening and closing during Covid it was very hard to generate income. As a brewery, we were not forced to close our doors but our route to market was squashed.

“We could not get hold of aluminium to produce tins and we ran out of cardboard for deliveries. There was also a shortage of CO2 which so much of our brewery runs off and we need it to clean our equipment. So, we faced lots of challenges."

To help get their business through the pandemic, the couple turned to the New Anglia Growth Hub, an organisation that providers free support to businesses across East Anglia, from which they got a £50,000 Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme grant.

This grant, which is now closed, was set up during the pandemic to assist Norfolk and Suffolk businesses with diversification projects.

Along with the grant, their advisor at the New Anglia Growth Hub, Chris Sharman, helped the brewery owners to apply for additional funding.

Ms Hudson said: “Chris carefully understands your specific business to find the right funding for you.

“He was very proactive and helped us to access the Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme, the West Norfolk Small Business Grant and the Plans for the Future Grant. So those three combined gave us around £100,000 and some of that was for operations, not just new assets."

During the pandemic the brewery launched its taproom, which allows customers to enjoy an outdoor drink and street food.

"Things like Tap Days really helped us to generate income and keep trading and without the grants we would not have had the money to do that,” Ms Hudson explained.

“We have definitely reached new customers and drinkers. People who could no longer go to the pub realised that they could buy from breweries, whereas before they would go to a farm shop or a beer specific bottle shop, so lots of discoveries have been made.”