Norfolk charity needs your help: it’s been given thousands of bottles of the world’s best beers
'We have thousands of bottles of the very finest beers in the world - and we want you to have them, for free.'
That must be an ale quaffer's ultimate fantasy offer. And those were pretty much the exact words charity fund-raiser Martin Green heard when he answered an unexpected phone call a few days ago.
But once Mr Green had picked himself up from the floor and stopped grinning, he and fellow chiefs at north Norfolk-based Break realised they were facing a happy dilemma: how to turn all that liquid gold into as much hard cash as possible to help vulnerable people?
The out-of-the-blue donation came from Norwich-based Paragraph Publishing which organises the annual World Beer Awards, attracting entries from around the globe.
The surplus bottles donated to Break are leftovers from the final round of 2011 judging which took place earlier in the summer at a secret Norwich location. The winners are expected to be announced later this month.
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'We must have roughly �6,000 worth of beer! It's incredible. I can't believe how much we've been given,' said Mr Green. 'I've taken two big van loads away with about 75 boxes, containing about 20 bottles, in each.'
A heady mix of brews from as far afield as Japan, Russia, the USA and all over Europe are among the bounty with mouth-watering names including the champagne cork-topped Ambrosius and Young's Double Chocolate Stout.
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Other names to conjure with include Heart of Pub Traditions, Old Bobby Ale, Kloster Starkbier, Bengal Lancer, and Evensong.
There are pale and dark ales, lagers, porters and stouts, wheat and flavoured brews, which Break bosses hope will help tempt those with discerning palates to part with their cash.
'We want ways to make money out of all this beer,' said Mr Green. 'We've thought about beer hampers, a beer festival and a beer auction but we really want to know if there's something else we could do - please bring us your ideas.'
Sell-by dates on the bottles, which range from December to next June, plus restrictions on selling alcohol, mean money-making schemes have to be both fairly quick to arrange and legal, Mr Green added. Anyone who can help should ring 01603 670107.
Meanwhile the precious cargo is being kept under lock and key somewhere in Norfolk.
A spokesman for Paragraph, based in Mountergate, said they had been organising the awards since 2007, attracting world-class international beer experts to Norwich for blind judging sessions and excess bottles were normally given away to good causes.
The company publishes on-line and paper titles in the beer, whisky, travel and food sectors.
Break spokesman Liz Richards said: 'Break would like to thank Paragraph Publishing for this unusual and very welcome gift.
'I have never seen so many different shapes and sizes of bottles! The money raised will make a huge difference to the vulnerable children and families we support.'
Sheringham-based Break, founded over 40 years ago, runs services including homes for children and young adults, supported holidays and short breaks, assessments for families in crisis, supporting teenage parents, and mental health services for women.
* Those who prefer birds to beer may want to support Break on Thursday September 8 when more than 80 decorated ducks will be going under the auctioneer's hammer in aid of the charity at the Maids Head Hotel, in Norwich, at 6.30pm. The ducks all took part in a race on the River Wensum in the city on bank holiday Monday.
To view the ducks or to contact Break with your beer ideas visit www.break-charity.org.