The team at the Lamb Inn in Norwich are raising a glass to cask ale after the pub’s first Ale Festival delivered a 12% increase in wet sales over its 11-day duration in May and June.
The Lamb, part of the TCG group of managed pubs and bars, staged the festival from 23 May – 2 June, as part of the annual Norwich City of Ale campaign promoting the city’s many great pubs and breweries. During its Ale Festival, the Lamb Inn offered 16 ales, sourced mainly from local brewers including Adnams, Bees and Wolf.
Ales were served from the pub’s award-winning beer garden, which over the May Bank Holiday weekend was filled with drinkers enjoying the sunshine, along with live bands and a Festival Barbecue cooked and served by the Lamb’s team.
A landmark on the Haymarket in Norwich for more than 300 years, the Lamb was restored to its former glory by a £250,000 refurbishment 18 months ago. General manager Clive Hitchens, said, “When we reopened the pub we made cask ale a focus, so it’s great to have achieved this level of success with our first ever Ale Festival.
“We’re delighted with the results, not just in terms of sales uplift over the 10 days, but also the legacy: the Lamb Inn is now firmly on the map for local cask ale lovers. We’re already planning our next ale festival for September.”
The Lamb is the latest success story arising from TCG’s focus on building its cask ale offer across the business over the past two years. Sales from September last year to April this year are up by nearly 7% by volume and of the 75-strong estate, 95% have now achieved Cask Marque accreditation.
CG’s annual cask ale campaign ‘Proud of Our Ale’ will be running again for a month from the end of September, starting in Cask Ale Week, The campaign is designed to boost the profile of cask beers and encourage trial. Last year cask sales increased by an average of 25% in the 53 pubs and bars which took part in the campaign.
TCG chief operating officer Nigel Wright said, “Cask ale is unique to pubs and bars, so we’re keen to make sure that, wherever possible, our sites develop a thriving cask ale trade.
“Our investment in staff training and Cask Marque accreditation helps ensure our pubs serve a consistently great pint of cask ale, while our Proud of Our Ale campaigns have been very successful in building their cask credentials. We’re looking forward to receiving another boost from the autumn campaign.”
Caption: (l-r) Clive Hitchens, Lamb Inn general manager; co-chairs of Norwich City of Ale Philip Cutter and Dawn Leeder and TCG regional operations manager Mark Nield