October 2006, November 2006, December
Wednesday, 13 December 2006
Campaign lost to save local ale
Harveys Best Bitter will no longer be served at The Lewes Arms
A campaign to prevent a locally-brewed ale being withdrawn from an East Sussex
pub has ended in failure.
Greene King, the Suffolk-based pub group which owns The Lewes Arms, said in
October that it planned to replace Harveys Best Bitter with its own beer.
Lewes MP Norman Baker won two reprieves for the bitter over the past month,
but it was finally taken out of the pub at the weekend.
Drinkers set up a campaign blog on the internet to save their favourite beer.
Greene King had said it wanted to "serve our own award-winning quality
ales in our own pubs", but the Friends of The Lewes Arms pressure group
wrote to the firm and Harveys Brewery pleading for a compromise.
But a joint statement said: "A number of trading options were presented
in an effort to preserve the status quo at The Lewes Arms while maintaining
the integrity of both companies.
"Sadly, none proved acceptable in a wider context."
Writers on the protesters' blog threatened a boycott of The Lewes Arms if the
bitter was withdrawn.
Harveys previously said it had been "touched by the loyalty" of drinkers
at the 220-year-old pub.
Back to top
Wednesday, 1 November
Greene King boss faces a roasting
The boss of the Greene King brewery could have his effigy burnt with that of
Guy Fawkes this Sunday as a row with drinkers at a Sussex pub escalates.
Lewes Arms regular are campaigning against the Suffolk-based brewery, which
wants to withdraw locally-brewed Harveys Best Bitter from the pub.
They have been backed by the mayor of the town and local MP Norman Baker.
Lewes' famous bonfire societies are now set to lend their support and give
Greene King a roasting on 4 November.
Such a gesture would be in keeping with the traditions of the quirky 220-year-old
pub, which has built up a reputation for hosting activities including the Annual
World Pea-Throwing Championship and Dwyle Flunking, a traditional game involving
two teams, a broom stick, a chamber pot and a beer-soaked rag.
Their ire was first raised at the beginning of October when the pub informed
them that Harveys would be withdrawn by the end of the year.
"It was only a month ago, but the campaign got going very quickly,"
said Jack Wilkinson, a regular at the Lewes Arms.
A pressure group, the Friends of the Lewes Arms, has written to Greene King
and Harveys trying to arrange some form of compromise agreement that might see
its favourite real ale kept on tap.
Previously, Greene King has held firm, saying it wants "to serve our own
award-winning quality ales in our own pubs".
However, the drinks distributor supplying the Lewes Arms said it hadn't received
any instructions to stop delivering Harveys Best Bitter and Greene King has
now said it is preparing a new statement on the issue.
Back to top
Thursday, 12 October 2006
Protesters demanding local beer
Campaigners said most drinks sold in the pub are made by Harveys
A brewer's decision to stop a pub selling a locally-produced beer has led to
a petition being organised in Lewes and a public meeting.
Pub group and brewer Greene King owns the Lewes Arms in the East Sussex town.
The Suffolk-based firm said it would stop serving Harveys beer, which is made
in Lewes, at Christmas, replacing it with its own beer.
Greene King said it was committed to ensuring its pubs had a range of ales.
Regulars said they would go elsewhere.
John May, a campaigner and a regular at the pub, said: "About 80% of the
drink sold in the Lewes Arms probably is Harveys.
"The majority of people will go elsewhere and the pub will lose its community,
which is in this day and age is very important."
We are very touched by their loyalty
Miles Jenner, Harveys
Greene King operations director Kris Gumbrell said: "We are committed
to all our pubs having a great range of cask ales, and of course you'd expect
us to want to serve our own award-winning quality ales in our own pubs.
"We are very proud of our premium beers and we are confident that our
fine selection of ales and our plans for further investment in the pub will
enable our customers to continue to enjoy the warm welcome offered by the Lewes
Miles Jenner, managing director of Harveys Brewery, said: "Greene King
have owned the freehold of the pub for the past 10 years and can stipulate what
beers they wish to sell there.
"While their Bury St Edmunds ales are extremely good, it appears that
customers at Lewes Arms prefer to drink local beers which we have produced in
"We are very touched by their loyalty."
Back to top