Norwich pubs hoping for festival ale trail boost

Organisers of Norwich's very first City of Ale Festival are hoping to boost business for participating pubs by putting together a series of ale trails.

So far a total of 31 pubs have signed up to take part in the festival, which runs from May 26 until June 5 and hopes to celebrate fine ale in a fine city.

A website,, to promote the festival, which is backed by the Evening News, is expected to go live next week and will feature a map with all pubs on it.

Warren Wordsworth, branch secretary of the Norwich and Norfolk branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) will be working with Mike Baldwin, fellow CAMRA member and editor of Norfolk Nips, to devise about six trails involving five or six pubs each.

Mr Baldwin said: 'What we intend to do is put them into little clusters of little trails – little fun trails to help people plan their evenings and where they want to go for the night.'

He added that another benefit of doing ale trails was that it might act as an 'incentive' for people to visit those pubs on the outskirts of the city that they might not otherwise go to.

Phil Cutter, landlord of the Murderers pub on Timberhill, Norwich, and co-chairman of the Norwich City of Ale steering group, said he was in favour of setting up ale trails as part of the festival. He said: 'The idea behind the trails is to use pubs that perhaps people wouldn't go into. People who go to suburban pubs might not go into the city as much, but there are beautiful pubs in the city like everywhere else and its a nice way to try and get people into as many pubs as we can.'

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The festival will be launched by Good Beer Guide editor Roger Protz at St Gregory's Church, St Gregory's Alley, off Pottergate, Norwich, on Thursday, May 26 with a closing ceremony and awards event at Dragon Hall, King Street, on June 5. Guests likely to be invited to the launch party include Chris Higgins, landlord of the Trafford Arms pub, who has recently been unveiled as the next sheriff of Norwich.

Posters, fliers and leaflets promoting the festival, complete with a City of Ale logo, have been designed and will be distributed to pubs and stores, including the Mustard Shop, in the coming weeks.

Visitors to the festival, which is sponsored by Signs Express, The Click design consultants and What Online, will be able to purchase glasses and T-shirts bearing the City of Ale logo.

The Norwich City of Ale Festival, which involves more than 50 pubs and brewers, fits in with the Evening News's Love Your Local campaign which urges people to support their locals.

The next City of Ale meeting will take place on Thursday, April 21 at 10am.

Do you have a pub story? Call Peter Walsh on 01603 772436.