2014 Norwich City of Ale most successful yet, findings show

Dawn Leeder, Andrew Griffiths MP and Phil Cutter celebrating the City of Ale at Westminster.

Dawn Leeder, Andrew Griffiths MP and Phil Cutter celebrating the City of Ale at Westminster. - Credit: Archant

This year's City of Ale event in Norwich has proved to be the most successful yet with even more visitors coming to Norwich especially for the festival.

More pubs and breweries took part, and more brews were on offer to real ale drinkers.

Research showed that pubs pulled hundreds of extra pints and punters drank more than 50,000 pints of local ales during the 10-day festival, which ran from May 22 to June 1.

In-pub surveys found that more than a fifth of those interviewed had come from outside Norfolk – almost double the number last year – showing that national marketing targeted at real-ale lovers earlier in the year funded by Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) had paid off.

Some of the visitors came from Northern Ireland, Greater Manchester, Yorkshire and Wales, with those travelling the farthest coming specifically to Norwich for the festival. Nearly eight of 10 publicans said they saw more new faces than usual this year.

The large variety of real ales available was cited as a key positive by festival-goers who also liked the way that City of Ale promoted local businesses.

Dawn Leeder, co-chairman of City of Ale, said: 'These results confirm our belief that national awareness of City of Ale is increasing year on year and that more people are visiting from outside the region. We are confident that this trend will continue.'

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Norfolk Brewhouse's Tidal Gold was voted the best new beer of the festival, and Wolf Brewery beers were visitors' favourite new beers.

A separate survey of publicans and brewers found overwhelming support for the festival with nearly everyone questioned pledging to take part next year.

Some improvements were suggested including earlier promotion and advertising and more provision of transportation to and from pubs.

One publican said: 'We need to have posters, even if just with the dates, out there much sooner. By the time posters, programmes etc. got into the pubs, it was too late for the traditional, local drinkers to get interested and sign up for crawls and events.'

Another said banners should be supplied to publicans at least a month before the event. There were also suggestions that more pubs should be stocking local, small brewers' beer.

The results of the survey conducted by Insight Track will be shared at a meeting at the Compleat Angler pub in Prince of Wales Road, Norwich today.

The festival fits in with The Evening News' Love your Local campaign, which aims to get people back inside pubs and supporting local breweries.

To see more stories from the campaign visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/loveyourlocal

How would you improve the City of Ale festival for next year? Email suggestions to david.bale2@archant.co.uk