South Lopham couple to set up microbrewery
Real ale lovers will soon be able to celebrate the arrival of new brews as a husband and wife team prepare to start their own microbrewery with a tipple that appeals to women.
Chris and Morag Burnard, of Redgrave Road, South Lopham, near Diss, hope to add to Norfolk's list of growing ale producers by setting up the enterprise at one of their own pubs.
The couple, who own The Greyhound pub in Botesdale and The George and Dragon pub in East Harling, aim to serve up four new ales to thirsty punters by the end of the year.
They are preparing to kit out a former function room at the East Harling pub with the equipment required and are now appealing for an experienced brewer to join them to develop the new additions to the bar menu.
Mr Burnard, 48, said: 'We already sell many real ales in each of the pubs. The Greyhound specifically sells those from the local smaller brewers like Buffy's Brewery (in Tivetshall St Mary) and Wolf Brewery (in Besthorpe).
'There's a big interest in them and we thought we've already got two outlets and it seemed an obvious thing to start as a hobby business.'
Mr Burnard added that he had seen a progressive rise in the popularity of real ale during his years behind the bar. The couple's annual May beer festival at The Greyhound pulls in hundreds of drinkers each year.
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'When we opened The Greyhound six years ago we were one of the only pubs in the area not to sell Greene King's IPA or Adnams Bitter and we thought it was going to be tough stocking only from local brewers but people come in because they know there will be something different, something a bit quirky,' he said.
They hope to develop a full range of flavours from their own microbrewery but are most keen to design an ale which would appeal to women.
Mrs Burnard, 36, said: 'More girls are getting into drinking real ale – it's not just a male thing these days.
'From the beers we sell at the beer festival we see which ones the girls try and which ones they come back to buy so we'll use that to develop the flavour.'
The pair have previously refurbished and run The Swan pub in East Harling and The Mill Inn in Newton Flotman – both of which have now been sold on.
They bought The Greyhound six years ago and followed it up with the purchase of the former The Nag's Head in East Harling in November, which they have renamed The George and Dragon.
The latter had been boarded up for more than a year, but following a swift refurbishment they were able to reopen within two weeks of sealing the deal. They have since installed a new kitchen so they can serve food and created some accommodation on the site.
Any brewers interested in helping Mr and Mrs Burnard develop the new ales should email email@example.com