Retired vicar compiling dossier on former Yarmouth brewery, Lacon’s

He might not fit the normal stereotype of a beer lover and historian, but retired vicar the Rev Eric Dor� is passionate about his hobby.

He's compiling a dossier on beers brewed by the former Lacons Brewery in Great Yarmouth and is looking for help from those who actually drank it.

Mr Dor�, who is 65 on Saturday and lives in Wrentham, near Beccles, invited former drinkers to share their memories with him at Blackfriars Brewery in Main Cross Yard, Yarmouth last Saturday.

Lacons could trace its origins back to 1640 but was taken over in 1965 and closed in 1968.

Blackfriars will soon be brewing 44, a special 4.4pc beer to mark the 44-year anniversary of Lacon's last brew.

Mr Dor� said: 'There was a brilliant turnout on Saturday with about 20 people attending.

'Many stories were shared but not much detailed information about the beers, which was the information I was hoping for. Trouble is, of course, that over 44 years ago is a long way back for people to remember in detail.

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'What I am still finding difficult is to get anyone to describe what the beer tasted like – whether it was a dry taste, a bitter taste, a hoppy or malty beer, sweet or not, that sort of thing.

'There is evidence that Lacons brewed more than 25 different brews over the years and there must be plenty of drinkers now aged between 65 and 70 who remember drinking the draught beers of Bitter, Best Bitter, Mild and Old or the bottled Audit Ale and Highlight.

'I want to know how it compared to any currently brewed beers, and why it was that Norwich drinkers are said not to have liked the beer and seemed to celebrate the arrival of Whitbread beers when Lacons brewery closed.'

Mr Dor�, who has lived in Wrentham since he retired five years ago, said that he had always been interested in old breweries and their histories.

He said: 'I'm a member of the brewery history society, and before I retired, when I was living in Sussex, I was writing a history of a Brighton brewery.

'When I moved to this area, I heard a lot about Lacons Brewery. People still seem to have an affection for the brewery... and there was a general sadness when it closed down. Some of the people at the event on Saturday were talking about having an annual get-together of former Lacons drinkers and staff.

'It was interesting to hear people taking about the old times and meeting friends they had not seen for many years.'

As part of his research, Mr Dor� has learned that Lacons brewery supplied beer – about 20,000 pints of it – to the great festival dinner held in Yarmouth in 1814 to celebrate the victory over Napoleon.

And during the 1850s the brewery built up a strong trade in London sending between 2,000 and 3,000 barrels of beer per week by sea and later by rail.

If you can help Mr Dor� with his research, email, write to 86a Southwold Road, Wrentham, Beccles NR34 7JF or call 01502 675777.

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