Pub landlords hit the road for beer deliveries to stay afloat

Fat Cat owner Colin Keatley has been delivering beers after the government said pubs were not allowed to offer collection...

Fat Cat owner Colin Keatley has been delivering beers after the government said pubs were not allowed to offer collection or takeaways. - Credit: Fat Cat pub

Pubs in Norwich unable to provide takeaway beer in lockdown are taking to the road and going mobile.

In previous lockdowns, pubs have been able to sell beer to customers through takeaways and collections, but this time have been limited to delivery only.

When the November lockdown began, the government initially introduced the delivery-only rule, but later u-turned after an outcry.

But it had stood firm on the change in rules this time around, with pubs having to pivot and adapt to deliveries to both stay afloat and make sure surplus stock does not go to waste.

The Fat Cat pub, on West End Street, had previously been running a beer hatch to sell to customers.

But the team has now started a 'Catmobile' to deliver beer around Norwich.

Owner Colin Keatley said in its first three days they had already sold more than 100 17-pint boxes through orders on their Facebook page.


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He said: "The government has reiterated they are not going to allow pubs to open, and that's a bit of a blow to us as we had a thriving takeaway trade.

"But we are quite happy to plod along and take beer to people's houses."

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Similarly, the Fat Cat and Canary, on Thorpe Road, which Mr Keatley also owns, previously ran a takeaway Cat Flap, but will now go mobile.

Fat Cat Brewery Tap.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Fat Cat Brewery Tap. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

They are not alone - The Black Horse, on Earlham Road, has already said it plans to provide alcohol deliveries from next week, while the Duke of Wellington pub, on Waterloo Road, is offering a delivery service within a four-mile radius.

The decision to scrap takeaway beer for pubs has been blasted across much of the industry.

Landlords have warned it could be the death knell for some beer-led pubs, while others say people still being allowed to stock up on beer at busy supermarkets is unfair.

Dawn Hopkins, owner and landlady of The Rose in Norwich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Dawn Hopkins, owner and landlady of The Rose in Norwich, is calling on the government to provide more help for the pub industry for it to survive. She is pictured here before lockdown. - Credit: Archant

Dawn Hopkins, landlord of the Rose Inn and vice chairman of the Campaign for Pubs, said earlier this week that the financial and emotional strain on landlords was "immense".

A package of support of up to £9,000 for pubs announced this week has also been branded inadequate.

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