Alnwick brewery left with 5,000 surplus pints set for final free beer giveaway

The last of 5,000 pints of beer that a Northumberland brewery has been unable to sell due to the coronavirus lockdown is set to be given away.

Wednesday, 6th May 2020, 4:45 pm

The Alnwick Brewery Company has been giving away free beer to local residents over the past few Fridays in exchange for donations to NHS Charities Together.

It has raised £940 so far so is hoping to pass the £1,000 mark at its final sale on Friday, May 8.

Brewery manager Phil Bell said: “We produced around 80 casks of beer for Easter, which would normally be the start of a busy time for us.

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The Alnwick Brewery Company has been giving away free beer to local residents over the past few Fridays in exchange for donations to NHS Charities Together.

“All of a sudden (due to lockdown) there was nowhere we could sell it so we had the choice of either pouring it down the drain or giving it away to local residents.”

Initially, the brewery invited people to collect the beer from its base on the Hawkhill Industrial Estate but to stop people driving there it now gives it away from the Taste of Northumbria shop in the town centre.

“At first, we thought we might get half a dozen people turning up but there were a lot more than that,” said Phil.

“People were even threatening to bring bath tubs which was quite funny!

Phil Bell, manager at the Alnwick Brewery.

“There were people who couldn’t get to the brewery though so we moved it to the town centre and it’s done well.”

Social distancing guidelines are adhered to throughout, with only one person at a time allowed in the shop.

They have also delivered fudge, chocolates, biscuits and cakes that are usually sold in the shop to a local hospital ward that cares for patients with dementia.

With stocks dwindling, customers are now being limited to five litres of beer.

Taste of Northumbria in Alnwick.

“We’re pretty sure this will be the last one as we’re running low on stock,” said Phil. “We’re limiting it to five litres per person so we have enough to go round.”

The company, which can trace its origins back to the 1840s, had its first brew day in six weeks on Wednesday to replenish stocks.

The story of the free beer giveaway has made the national and even international news in recent days.

“It came as a complete shock to us,” said Phil.

“Look North wanted to do something on it and filmed us at the brewery but nothing happened and all of a sudden the story was on the BBC home page.

“The next thing we knew, we had the Evening Standard, BBC Radio 5 Live, Sky and CNN following up. It was also picked up by The Times and The Sun.

“We’ve had coverage in the USA, Japan and China and even places like Nigeria, Lithuania and Finland. It’s gone viral. It’s been amazing to see.”

The final free beer giveaway is at Taste of Northumbria, Market Place, Alnwick, from 10am to 2pm.

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