Success for 2017 City of Ale as 55,000 pints sold

Norfolk farmers, maltsters and brewers gather at St Andrews Brew House to celebrate their contributi

Norfolk farmers, maltsters and brewers gather at St Andrews Brew House to celebrate their contribution to the City of Ale festival. Picture : ANTONY KELLY - Credit: copyright ARCHANT 2017

Six years on from the first-ever City of Ale festival, the event has gone from strength to strength with more than 55,000 pints sold across Norwich this year.

The 10-day celebration saw 43 Norwich pubs, 36 Norfolk and Suffolk breweries and 250 different real ales involved.

Around 55,000 pints of cask ale were consumed, the majority made with barley grown and malted in the region.

Dawn Leeder, co-founder of City of Ale, said according to their research 95pc of pubs reported more people coming through their doors as part of an 'annual pilgrimage' for the event.

'Many commented on groups of visitors coming from all over East Anglia for the ale trails, and some had parties from much further afield,' she said.

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Fellow co-founder Phil Cutter, licensee at The Murderers on Timberhill, said: 'Not so long ago, the region had the reputation of a brewing desert. Look at it now.

'The industry has risen phoenix-like from the ashes. There are lots of excellent craft brewers producing amazing beers from barley grown and malted within 30 miles of the city.'

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City of Ale was initiated to get people rediscovering the joy of great pubs. It aimed to inspire them with the ever-growing range of crafted cask ales from the region's excellent breweries - and to generate economic, social and educational activity. This year's 200 events included tutored beer tastings, talks and seminars as well as quizzes, bands, food and beer matching, promotions and beer festivals.

More than 1,000 ale trails were completed during the course of the 10 days. Each trail had six or seven pubs to visit, so people were stepping into new territory and discovering pub gems they might have heard about but never experienced.

'Nine out of 10 pubs sold more cask ale than usual,' said Mr Cutter. 'This year, nearly eight out of 10 pubs sold more keg beer and cider, nearly a quarter sold more soft drinks and nearly a third sold more food.

'These findings back up research published in previous Cask Reports by [beer writer] Pete Brown. They show that cask drinkers bring value to pubs in all sorts of ways. Yes they buy real ale, but they also buy other drinks and food, bring friends – and are key to keeping pubs open.'

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