Norwich pub bends rules to sell 32pc beer

Landlord Benjamin Thompson at the Plasterers Arms with a pint of ordinary beer - not a pint of 'Not-

Landlord Benjamin Thompson at the Plasterers Arms with a pint of ordinary beer - not a pint of 'Not-Beer'. Photo by Simon Finlay. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A city pub that produced the strongest beer to be made or sold in Norwich has negotiated the complicated rules regarding beers and spirits by selling the 32pc beer as a shot, rather than in half pint glass.

The Plasterers Arms in Cowgate was told that because of the law, beers and ciders had to be sold in prescribed measures - half pints and pints - rather than in small measures, even though downing a half pint of this brew would be the equivalent of drinking nine shots of vodka.

But thanks to Norfolk County Council's trading standards they have found a way of selling the beer within the law. Called 'Not-Beer', it's being sold for £3 a shot in a brandy glass.

Michelle Hall, the pub's manager, said the brew was going down pretty well with the customers.

Ben Thompson, the pub's landlord, added: 'We produced a traditional German Eisbock - it's a beer that's brewed just like any other, and then cold conditioned until it reaches around 30pc ABV.

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'But current UK law means that it's impossible to sell this in small measures, because technically it's considered a draught beer - which means legally we have to offer it in half pints. That's about the equivalent of nine shots of vodka at once.'

Mr Thompson said that, thankfully, trading standards at Norfolk County Council had helped them find a way around it.

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But he added: 'But isn't it stupid that we have to waste time (and the council's time) working out a way just to even sell the beer we've made? Ridiculous and archaic laws in this country just can't keep up with the revolution in craft brewing that we're so proud of here in Norfolk.'

A spokesman for trading standards said: 'Because of the law, beers and ciders have to be sold in prescribed measures - half pints and pints, but we provided advice to the publican so that he can display and sell the product in a way that still complies with the law.'

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