‘We sell enough in three hours to pay the bills’ - the pub where beer has continued to flow during lockdown

Drinkers in the Hop In, in North Walsham. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

Drinkers in the Hop In, in North Walsham. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The Hop In has been serving beer despite lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Hop In has been serving beer despite lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

Draft beer has been in short supply during an exceptionally dry lockdown - but for one pub the ale has continued to flow.

The Hop In in North Walsham has been opening for three hours every Friday to allow beer lovers to fill up their containers with their favourite craft ales after the pub originally shut on March 22, a day before lockdown.

Two weeks after lockdown was announced, the pub reopened for take away customers who have queued in their masses to be served from a small table in its doorway.

Owner Nigel Davies said: “We shut down obviously the day before they announced lockdown, and then we decided to only open three hours a week, we do 2pm until 5pm on Friday, just for off-sales, and as you may have seen, we get quite a big queue of people.

The Hop In, North Walsham. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

The Hop In, North Walsham. Picture: SONYA DUNCAN - Credit: Sonya Duncan


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“We turn over about four barrels in that time and there’s 72 pints in a barrel, so a lot in that short space of time, and all our regulars who are ale lovers all turn up with all sorts of containers, 10 gallon drums and who knows what else.

“So we sell enough in those three hours to pay the bills really, so we keep it ticking over while the pub is permanently on hold until July 4 or whenever.”

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Mr Davies‘ innovative way of opening has raised the eyebrow of the law on a couple of occasions, with his day job in the Home Office allowing him to prove to police that off-sales were in line with coronavirus regulations.

Mr Davies hopes to reopen the pub despite its small size when the government allows it to by striking a deal with the council to put tables on the concrete area outside the pub.

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