Norwich raises a toast as it prepares for the fifth annual City of Ale festival

Norwich City of Ale 2015 festival publicans, brewers and supporters raise a glass at the launch in t

Norwich City of Ale 2015 festival publicans, brewers and supporters raise a glass at the launch in the memeorial gardens, Norwich. Pictured front Dawn Leeder and Phil Cutter Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Glasses were raised as Norwich prepares to hold its annual week of championing the city's fine pubs and alcohol.

The Norwich City of Ale festival will celebrate it's fifth anniversary this year and organisers are planning to celebrate it with a party atmosphere.

It is set to be the biggest festival yet, with organisers hoping to attract more than 50 pubs in the city and more than 40 breweries.

It will give even more reason for the city to celebrate with the festival running from May 21-31 over the same weekend as Radio 1's Big Weekend as well as a possible playoff final involving Norwich City.

Dawn Leeder, co-chairman of City Ale, said: 'The week is all about promoting Norwich as the true UK real ale destination. We get a lot of people from outside the region usually for the events but with all that is going on in that week even more eyes will be on the city this time around.

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'We have lots of plans to put on special offers and hold parties and music events and bring a real party atmosphere to the city.'

Last year 44 pubs and 39 breweries took part in the City of Ale.

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This time around there will be some new additions including The Leopard, on Bull Close Road and Belle Vue, on St Phillips Road.

Bob Utting, landlord of the recently reopened Leopard said: 'It is a great event to put pubs like ourselves on the map and promote the city as a whole and boost tourism.

'This is my first job in the pub industry and linking up with the City of Ale festival will be a great way to attract new clients as the City of Ales tries to get people to go to pubs which they normally wouldn't visit.'

Pubs pay a subscription fee to take part in the festival while the breweries donate their ranges of beer and cider for the week.

The launch party will take place at the Narthex Cathedral of St John the Baptist on Thursday, May 21.

The evening session will start at 6.30pm and ticket details for the event will be announced by organisers shortly.

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