'Nonstop' production at Suffolk breweries as pubs reopen

Tom Burridge and Hannah Crane enjoying a drink at Isaacs. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Breweries in Suffolk have been hard pressed to keep up with demand from pubs reopening. Pictured: Tom Burridge and Hannah Crane enjoying a drink at Isaacs in Ipswich. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Suffolk brewers have been working "nonstop" to get pubs stocked for reopening.

After nearly a year of pubs being closed and having to find new revenue streams Suffolk breweries have been filling casks for the pub trade again. 

During the lockdowns Calvors brewery diversified by packaging beer into cans to supply farm shops and drinkers direct via their website.

Business developer Charles Baldwin, founder Alec Williamson and head of sales Adam Button at Calvors Brewery, in Coddenham.

Business developer Charles Baldwin, founder Alec Williamson and head of sales Adam Button at Calvors Brewery, in Coddenham. Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Now, Adam Button, head of sales at the Coddenham-based brewery, believes those orders will keep coming in but the brewery has had to change its focus back to kegs for the pub trade.

"We took a bit of a gamble really and stocked up in anticipation that the April reopening would go ahead," he said. 

"Production has pretty much been nonstop since since that announcement came out, which is great. Initially, it was close to the wire to have enough stock.


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"We've had some long days canning and kegging. We put in some hours to get ourselves ready for pubs to reopen because the last thing we wanted was to run out of anything when the pubs came back."

But Mr Button expects demand for canned beers to continue, in the short term at least.

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He said: "It will continue for a little while. Because even with all of the openings, there still will be a lot of people who don't necessarily feel 100% comfortable going out. And they might just stick to smaller family barbecues to see people." 

Fergus Fitzgerald, head brewer at Southwold-based Adnams, said the brewery had been taken aback by the success of the first reopening and is now catching up.

Fergus Fitzgerald, Adnams head brewer, said the brewery's low-alcohol products had become more popul

Fergus Fitzgerald, Adnams head brewer - Credit: Adnams

"It's been very busy building stock back up," he said. "The April reopening went way better than expected so we needed to catch up.

"We're only just managing to get stock back to a decent level again on keg and cask."

John Bjornson, owner of Earl Soham Brewery, which is now based in Debenham, was more guarded.

He said the past year had been a "dreadful" time for breweries but there had been a "flurry for a couple of weeks while people were restocking their cellars".

Mr Bjornson said his brewery had been down to less than 5% of its expected turnover in the latest lockdown, adding: "We just kept turning over so that we could keep our yeast alive."

Suffolk's largest brewer, Greene King, has also stepped up production inline with the reopening of hospitality venues.

A view of Abbot House, the headquarters of pub and brewing company Greene King, in Bury St Edmunds,

A view of Abbot House, the headquarters of pub and brewing company Greene King, in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

As pubs reopened for indoor service on Monday, bosses said they were "excited" to ramp up beer production.

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