Brewers, publicans and real-ale fans across Norwich are planning a city-wide celebration of “Norwich – City of Ale” to be held 26 May – 5 June 2011. Norwich is already renowned for its vibrant city free trade and Norfolk has a multitude of micro-breweries and grows, arguably, the finest malting barley in the world. Couple this with a beautiful, friendly and historic city with the most complete medieval street plan in Europe, plus a venerable tradition of pubs and brewing, and you have a recipe for a most successful event that will attract visitors from all over the UK and perhaps from much further afield.
“This is an unprecedented collaboration between pubs and breweries to promote the region’s wonderful range of ales and free-trade outlets” says Dawn Leeder, chair of the steering group. “We all know that Norwich is unparalleled as a UK real ale destination, and it’s time to take that message to a wider audience.”
Phil Cutter, landlord of the Murderers pub on Timberhill, Norwich, and a member of the steering group, concurs: “Norwich has a great heritage of beer brewing and pubs, and we want to celebrate that fact. We’ve got a fantastic pub history, a beautiful city and live in a big culture of people brewing and enjoying real ale, and it’s about drawing all these threads together.”
Organisers say the celebration, which they plan to hold annually, will complement rather than compete with Norwich’s traditional CAMRA beer festival held every October and that together they will show that Norwich is a city of ale appreciated by beer drinkers from not only the rest of the country, but the rest of the world too. The local CAMRA branch are pleased to help promote the event; Mike Baldwin, a member of the Norfolk branch and editor of the Norfolk Nips newsletter, said: “It fits in well with our LocAle scheme and the feeling that we’ve had for some considerable time that Norwich is the real ale capital of the UK.”
Also keen to promote Norwich – City of Ale are Eastern Counties Newspapers who are currently running a “Love your Local” campaign to highlight the role pubs play in the community, and the story featured prominently on the front page of the Eastern Evening news on Wednesday 8 December. This was followed the next day by articles in the Eastern Daily Press and Radio Norfolk breakfast business news showing evidence of wide-ranging local support.