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Pledge that Norwich beer festival will be the best yet

PUBLISHED: 07:45 24 April 2014 | UPDATED: 09:18 24 April 2014

Setting up for the Dragon Hall beer festival, Emma Pinder, Andrea Kirkby,  and Dragon Hall events manager Rachael McLanagan.
Photo by Simon Finlay.

Setting up for the Dragon Hall beer festival, Emma Pinder, Andrea Kirkby, and Dragon Hall events manager Rachael McLanagan. Photo by Simon Finlay.

The trio running this year’s Dragon Hall beer festival say they will make it the best yet.

Bar and cellar manager Emma Pinder, her deputy Andrea Kirkby and Dragon Hall events manager Rachael McLanagan aim to make the festival, which starts today and runs until Sunday, the most female-friendly around.

Ms Pinder, who started bar work at the Norwich beer festival, run by Camra, said the Dragon Hall event was special partly because of the magnificent 15th century trading hall setting, and had already found a special place in people’s hearts since it started in 2011.

She said: “It’s really built up. Last year’s event was a real record-breaker and we raised nearly £6,000, which goes towards the upkeep of Dragon Hall.

“While there’s a lot of focus on us, as three women running the festival, it’s a team effort. Other women help and blokes as well. We are a very women-friendly festival. I think women are enjoying more real ales because of the variety, but we’ve also got cider and perries at the festival.”

Ms Kirkby added: “There’s a different crowd of people coming to our festival.

“While you do see the regular faces, you also see people that don’t normally go to beer festivals or real ale pubs. There’s a different atmosphere, and it’s held in this beautiful building. It’s a nice size for a festival and is not overcrowded – it’s intimate.”

She said attitudes to women drinking had changed since she went into a pub in her 20s and was told that beer was not a very feminine drink.

“There are fewer dinosaurs around now,” she said.

Ms McLanagan claimed that compared to a festival run by men they were probably “better organised” and said the festival was now a permanent fixture on the calendar.

“We would be mobbed if it were not,” she said.

The festival is sponsored by Norwich’s Fat Cat Brewery, and will showcase a selection of unusual real ales from across the UK.

Hot food will also be available as well as tea, coffee and soft drinks, and there will be live music.

See www.dragonhall.org for more details.

Do you run a particularly female-friendly business in Norwich? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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