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Shop Local: Suffolk brewery thanks customers for ‘incredible’ support during pandemic

PUBLISHED: 06:00 01 November 2020

Charles Baldwin Business Developer, Alec Williamson Founder and Director and Adam Button Head of Sales. Calvors Brewery in Coddenham  Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charles Baldwin Business Developer, Alec Williamson Founder and Director and Adam Button Head of Sales. Calvors Brewery in Coddenham Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Charlotte Bond

A Suffolk brewery has thanked its customers for their “incredible” support throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Calvors new canning machine on site. Picture: Ella WilkinsonCalvors new canning machine on site. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Calvors owner and founder, Alec Williamson puts 2020 down as the brewery’s hardest year yet.

“This year has of course been incredibly difficult for everyone, in all walks of life,” he said.

“It has devastated hospitality businesses and suppliers and sadly some outlets and small breweries have closed indefinitely.

Calvors Brewery in Coddenham  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDCalvors Brewery in Coddenham Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

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“The support consumers have shown for all things ‘local’ has been incredible. Our region’s consumers have made an extraordinary effort to support local businesses and producers.

“Our regions publicans and operators have been incredibly adaptive to the various restrictions put upon them, with many introducing take-away services and beer-hatches to stay relevant to their customers.

Alec Williamson Founder and Director. Calvors Brewery in Coddenham  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDAlec Williamson Founder and Director. Calvors Brewery in Coddenham Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

“Just as their customers made a clear choice to support ‘local’, operators have followed suit and a great number of new outlets are now serving our draught beers with great success.

“We’re overwhelmed by the support and its importance cannot be overstated.”

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Adam Button, head of sales at the Coddenham-based brewery, explained how they had to branch out from mainly supplying the pub trade pre-lockdown to selling canned beer online direct to the consumer during lockdown.

Brewer Ryan Gardner. Calvors Brewery in Coddenham  Picture: CHARLOTTE BONDBrewer Ryan Gardner. Calvors Brewery in Coddenham Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

“At the beginning of the year, and for most of the history of the business, we have probably been 90% pub trade,” he said.

“Obviously with the onset of the first lockdown that business went overnight.”

Mr Button explained that brewery’s size and the fact it mainly makes lager – which is not a live product, unlike ale – made this transition easier for them.

To supply the pub trade beer needs to be put into kegs and cask, whereas consumers buy most of their beer in bottles and cans.

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Mr Button said: “We just put all of our efforts – in production and sales – into making the most of farm shops and the off-trade sales that we had and supporting them as best we could.

“We also tried to pick up new off-trade and online routes to market which, thankfully, we managed to do.

“Sale increased massively via our website when lockdown hit. People were buying direct from the brewery.

“That helped enormously – if we didn’t have the canning line and the off-trade we quite possibly wouldn’t be here as a brewery.

“You can put the British people into lockdown in the middle of a pandemic, but the one thing they won’t stop doing is drinking alcohol.”


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