Norwich pubs urged to back major new beer festival

The organisers of a major new beer festival, which it is hoped will make Norwich a world-renowned centre for real ale, have issued a call to arms to pubs and breweries to pledge their support for the celebration.

It is hoped the festival, which will run from Thursday, May 25 until Sunday, June 5, will attract people from across the country and beyond to sample the best beer Norfolk and Norwich has to offer.

But in order to make the festival a real celebration of Norwich as a City of Ale, organisers said they needed more real ale pubs and breweries to get involved.

Dawn Leeder, co-chairman of the Norwich City of Ale steering group, today issued a clear message to those who have not yet signed up to be a part of the festival.

She said: 'Calling all real ale pubs and breweries in Norwich. The Norwich City of Ale celebration wants your involvement. There are a lot of people who are interested and a lot of people who are busy at this time of year who say speak to me in January but by mid January we need a definitive list of every pub and brewery that wants to be involved and it needs to be impressive because we need to take that to sponsors.'

Ms Leeder said they are looking to approach a number of big firms and organisations in the city with a view to sponsoring the event which it is hoped will complement rather than compete with Norwich's traditional beer festival, held every October. She added: 'The pubs have to sell real ale and we want to hear from breweries from within 30 miles of Norwich.'

Organisers are hoping to kick the festival off on Wednesday, May 24 with a launch night at an as yet undecided city venue where merchandise like programmes, T-shirts, badges and posters would be sold.

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They are also hoping to hold a promotional event outside the Forum on the first Saturday of the festival which would have stands from a number of participating pubs and brewers as well as other information about the festival.

The programmes will feature details of the participating pubs and beers as well as potted histories on some of the watering holes in Norwich and a map of the tour. The programmes might also feature vouchers as an incentive for festival goers to attend all pubs.

The festival will have its own website and logo, which could be featured on a giant inflatable pint of beer that is displayed in the city while the festival is running.

Other ideas include guided walking tours of pubs, meet the brewer evenings and other music or quiz events during the festival and a vintage coach or other similar form of transport to take people round the pubs.

The idea for the festival fits in with the Evening News's Love Your Local campaign. The campaign was launched to highlight the role pubs play in the community and warned punters to either use them or lose them.

To find out more about the campaign log onto, click on campaigns and then Love Your Local.

Have you got a story for the campaign? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email

If you are a landlord or brewer interested in finding out more about plans for the festival call Dawn Leeder on 07949588207, email, or call Phil Cutter on 01603 621447.

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