Woodforde’s Showtime beer marks end of an era for Royal Norfolk Show organisers

Two retiring stalwarts of the Royal Norfolk Show toasted their own farewells with a new local beer brewed in their honour.

Woodforde's Norfolk Ales brewery launched it's commemorative pint, named Showtime, this morning (Wednesday) to celebrate the long careers of chief executive John Purling and show manager Sarah de Chair.

The pair are overseeing their final show together before retiring from the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA), sharing 30 years of loyal service between them.

Mr Purling, who has worked on the show for 18 years, said: 'We have had an excellent relationship with Woodforde's over the years and so this is a very fitting send-off.

'I am very grateful for the idea and the forethought which has gone into it. I love a good pint of ale, and this is a very good one.

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'I am absolutely determined to enjoy these last two days. It has been 18 years of real pleasure and challenge.

'I feel very proud that we have not only maintained but taken the show forward into the 'premier league' of agricultural shows in the UK, which is reflected by the number of people that want to exhibit here, whether it is with trade stands, livestock or horses, and the number of people that want to visit the show.'

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Mrs de Chair pulled her first pint behind the Woodforde's bar to launch the exclusive brew as she neared the end of her 12-year career as show manager.

'This is the first time I have pulled a pint of beer, and it doesn't look too bad,' she said. 'It is very nice, I could certainly drink it.

'Some years ago, the brewery ran a competition to allow the public to choose a name for a new beer and the winning entry, Showtime was actually suggested then by my father, so it is lovely to see the name in use again.

'I'm on an adrenaline high at the moment. I am sure that come Thursday it will hit home, but at the moment I have got two days' show to run and it doesn't feel any different to normal.

Showtime is made using malted barley from Norfolk, and will only be available at the Woodforde's brewery bar for the two days of this year's show,

But Rupert Farquharson, the company's managing director, said the recipe may well be used in another guise after the event ends

'We are really pleased with how it has turned out and I'm sure we will use the recipe again,' he said. 'It is a fitting tribute to these two fantastic careers and a partnership which we have really benefited from.

'It would be easy for us to start building a relationship with the new chief executive, but it was really important to us that we took the time to pause and celebrate what these two people have achieved.

'We have built a good relationship and enjoyed a prominent position in the show and we wanted to say than you. The beer was an obvious way to do that.'

Mrs de Chair said the first morning of her final show had been an 'emotional rollercoaster' after visiting the stand of the Stonham women's refuge, the Norwich charity which she had supported with the offer of a free pitch.

'I have been down to see them and they are so thrilled to be here,' she said. 'I am meeting all sorts of wonderful people and they do a great job. Being in this privileged position means we have been able to help charities like them.

'It can be difficult for charities like that to put their message across and we have got 50,000 people here we can put across to them and I am absolutely delighted that so many charities and businesses and local food producers have been able to have that opportunity.'

Showtime is made from a blend of pale, cara and crystal malts, coupled with hops from New Zealand. Ale connoisseurs at the show described its taste as having an 'intriguing finish of summer and citrus fruits.'

The beer is available at the Woodforde's brewery bar on the corner of Third Drive and Avenue 14.

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