PRESS REACTIONS: THE ARGUS
8:15am Wednesday 11th October 2006
Pub regulars have reacted angrily to plans to call time on their favourite tipple.
The Lewes Arms, in Mount Place, Lewes, which is owned by Greene King, will stop serving locally brewed Harveys beer at Christmas.
It is the only Greene King pub in the town which still sells the Lewes-based ale and regulars fear for the pub's trade if it is removed from the pumps.
The name Harveys has long been associated with the supply of beers, wines and spirits in Sussex. The Bridge Wharf Brewery was established on its present site by the River Ouse, overlooking Cliffe bridge in Lewes, by John Harvey in 1784.
Bill Inman, marketing manager at Harveys, said: "There are other pubs in the town which serve our beer and I think people will go elsewhere. The Lewes Arms could find their business is not viable.
"Harveys is still very much a family business and we have a seventh generation descendant of John Harvey who is managing the business.
"We have always had a policy that we trade within Sussex because that is where we started.
We have never thought of going to trade in East Anglia, where Greene King come from, and it is always irksome when someone from another county comes and trades in your heartland."
Campaign The Lewes Arms has sold Harveys Best, an award-winning beer, for more than 50 years and customers have launched a campaign to try and get Greene King to change its mind.
Lewes Town Council has also written to Greene King asking it not to use the town's armorial crest to promote its own brand of Lewes Arms beer and has said that if the brewery does use the crest the council will consider taking legal action.
A petition against the removal of the beer has been signed by more than 500 people and Lewes MP Norman Baker has asked Greene King to reconsider its decision.
Regular John May said: "There is a tremendous depth of feeling about this in Lewes.
"It is the last pub left in the area owned by Greene King which sells Harveys."
Jack Wilkinson, secretary for the Brighton and South Downs branch for the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), has said a public meeting will be held in the pub tomorrow night at 8pm to discuss how Greene King can be persuaded not to remove Harveys beer from the pub.
He said: "We know that if it is taken out a lot of people will stop drinking at the pub and we do not want that to happen.
"I do not see how they can even contemplate taking the beer out because they will do a lot of damage to their business.
"They have not spoken to local people to find out what they want and do not realise that people will move elsewhere when they take it away."
Great range Kris Gumbrell, operations director for the Greene King Pub Company, said: "We're committed to all our pubs having a great range of cask ales and of course you'd expect us to want to serve our own awardwinning quality ales in our own pubs.
"We are very proud of our premium beers and we are confident that our fine selection of ales and our plans for further investment in the pub will enable our customers to continue to enjoy the warm welcome offered by the Lewes Arms."