Brewery pours away 3,000 pints in pandemic as income plummets

David and Rachel Holliday at the Norfolk Brew House. pic: EDP

David and Rachel Holliday at the Norfolk Brew House. pic: EDP - Credit: Archant

A north Norfolk brewery is itching to see pubs reopened after its income dropped by 95pc ahead of the summer season. 

Norfolk Brewhouse, which brews Moon Gazer Ale and is based in Fakenham, has poured away 3,000 pints during lockdown as it waits for its supply chains to reopen. 

But the volume of wasted booze will be even higher than this, said co-founder of the business David Holliday, as its 400 pubs and shops have also had to throw away thousands of pints worth of alcohol which has not been added to the tally. 

Mr Holliday said: "As an industry we've poured away around 87 million pints of beer. That hasn't been helped by the announcements around Christmas where we were told one day by ministers we'd have a tier system which could see pubs do takeaway, and then the next day it was national lockdown. 

"That was thousands of pints wasted overnight. I think that's meant that this time around pubs are being far more cautious about getting their orders in. They want to see what the weather's like in April and how many people come out, but they're also nervous they could be ordered to close again."

In a usual week Mr Holliday and his team of eight would brew around 15,000 pints of ale but are currently producing around 20pc of that total. 

He expects this to get back to around 50pc by April, when pubs are allowed to reopen their beer gardens. 

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He added: "We've always been a very frugal business so we'll survive because we've eaten into some of our cash reserves. 

Rachel and David Holliday, of the Norfolk Brewhouse. Pic: EDP

Rachel and David Holliday, of the Norfolk Brewhouse. Pic: EDP - Credit: Archant

"There has been some support for pubs which has been absolutely brilliant - the problem in our industry is that a lot of the government financial support hasn't extended to the supply chain, so although we rely on pubs for the vast majority of our income we didn't get much aid.

"I just can't wait for the pubs to reopen. Not only from a business point of view but I'm just really excited to have a pint in a beer garden. 

"Last summer was absolutely brilliant - I think we're hoping it will be like that again. The other thing is of course hoping that people visit the smaller and independent pubs and breweries. Of course everyone's had a hard time but the bigger players have seen income increase via supermarket sales, which the smaller businesses don't have access to."