Friday, 28 March 2014

Beer lovers appeal for help in researching Crawley's boozy past


On Wednesday 5th March, I gave an informal talk, on old Crawley breweries, in the town's Wetherspoon outlet, the Jubilee Oak. The talk was in conjunction with a 'Meet the Brewer' evening at the pub with Gary Lucas of Kissingate Brewery, Lower Beeding, showcasing a number of his excellent ales.

Local newspaper reporter Luke Warren picked up on the feedback from the event and penned this very helpful piece for Crawley News.

As Luke says, if anyone has any information on the Victorian breweries of Crawley, please let me know on

A link to the website version of Luke's article is

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

V.A.T. ... Venues Against Taxation!

In the last four years beer duty has risen by a gruelling 42%. The publicans of South Street, Eastbourne are joining together to demonstrate to their customers what an enormous difference this relentless increase makes to the cost of a pint. They are offering pints of real ale at the duty free price, for an entire day on Tuesday 18th March 2014, the day before the annual budget.

Rachel Ainsley, landlady at the Dolphin explains that “although the scrapping of the Beer Duty Escalator and One Pence Reduction in the 2013 budget was greatly received and helped boost confidence and employment in the hospitality industry, it cannot stop there. We are calling for the government to freeze beer duty in the upcoming budget; it is essential for the future of our industry.”

After years of duty increases the UK pays the second largest amount of beer duty in Europe: a startling third of the cost of a pint of beer goes on duty. In 2012 beer drinkers in the UK paid 43% of all EU beer duty, yet we are still seeing record numbers of pub closures each week. British beer sales currently support almost one million jobs and contribute more than £22 billion a year in taxes. The five pubs involved, Bibendum, the Dolphin, Dew Drop Inn, Maxims, and the Eagle, between them employ sixty-five people and contribute to the local economy, as well as support local commerce and charities. A freeze in beer duty this year would secure an additional 2,400 jobs in the industry nationally.

The great British pub is at the heart of a community; they bring people together, provide a safe environment for supervised drinking and play a unique role in our social lives and national identity. The Publicans of South Street, Eastbourne, believe that keeping down the cost of beer and making it affordable is the best way for the Government to support our pubs.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

CAMRA Spring Equinox Festival: Horsham Drill Hall, 22nd-23rd March

Tickets for the first CAMRA North Sussex Equinox Beer & Cider Festival are selling well. The proven excellent beer festival venue is the Drill Hall, Denne Road, Horsham, RH12 1JF, which is in the town centre about a twenty minute walk from the station. Tickets are available from Beer Essentials, the Malt Shovel and Kings Brewhouse, all in Horsham. Postal applications (cheques payable to CAMRA North Sussex) to The Treasurer, 19 Felbridge Avenue, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 7BD.

The beer list is almost finalised, with over fifty to choose from. All six of our excellent branch brewers will be featured, plus other local favourites, a number of the new breweries that have opened in the few months, and some gems from further afield. A healthy mix of winter and spring ales will be available, as you would expect on the weekend of the Spring Equinox. There will also be a great selection of local cider and perry. The more tickets we sell, the more beers we will be ordering, so if you have not bought your tickets yet, help us to get the beer order to over sixty.

Sessions are Saturday 12noon-4pm and 6-10pm, then Sunday 12noon-4pm. Tickets are £6 for the Saturday sessions, £5 for Sunday, and include a souvenir glass, plus a free pint for card-carrying CAMRA members. Hot and cold baguettes and snacks will be available at all sessions. A number of musicians are lined up to provide entertainment for the Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon sessions. A £1 donation will be made by the branch to a local charity for any returned souvenir glasses, along with the value of any donated surplus tokens.

For more info, including a beer list visit