Saturday, November 11, 2006


Following our complaint to The Argus regarding their erroneous story (see previous posting), they published the following on their website. Unfortunately, the majority of their readers will not see this.

Greene King denies beer ban U-turn
10 November 2006

A brewery planning to ban local brew Harveys from a Sussex pub has not changed the decision. Greene King will stop serving the beer at the Lewes Arms after Christmas, much to the dismay of the pub regulars. But the pub company's managing director Mark Angela indicated on Radio 4's Today Programme this week that Harveys could possibly return to the pub occasionally as a guest beer.

The regulars, who have been campaigning to keep Harveys, which is brewed in Lewes, at the pub have collected more than 1,200 signatures on a petition which they plan to present to Greene King.

Mayor of Lewes Merlin Milner pointed out that 80 per cent of cask beer sold at the Lewes Arms is Harveys Best, and regulars fear the pub will lose a lot of its trade if the beer is withdrawn.

The Lewes Arms has been selling locally produced beer for more than 200 years. The campaign to save Harveys has also been backed by local MP Norman Baker and the Campaign For Real Ale.

Some people carried protest banners at the Lewes Bonfire on Saturday.

We have received the following comments from Paul Sweetman, one of our supporters:

Dear John,
I was appalled at how the Argus misreported the Today Programme interviews. They completely misunderstood what what was being said. Merlin was great, but it's a shame that the spokesman for Greene King had the last word. I am a regular, but infrequent, visitor to the Lewes Arms. I consider it to be one of the best pubs in Sussex. I realised things were going wrong last winter when I met a friend for a taste of Harvey's Old. We had to go to the Gardeners Arms.

I used to be a regular at the Farm Tavern in Hove - this was also a Beards pub. The locals complained to Greene King when they decided to remove Harveys (a few years ago). We were told in a letter from a G.K. director that 'you never know Harveys may one day turn up as a guest beer'. It never did, but this served to quell the rebellion. The same line was taken in the Radio 4 interview. I remember phrases such as ' I don't think this has been ruled out', when asked if Harveys could be a guest beer.

I believe that it is their policy to sell 'guest beers' from breweries that they already own - although I can't be certain of this. Are there any Greene King houses selling guest beers from breweries that they don't own?- I think that this is a crucial question.

They have slowly taken Harveys away from the old Beards pubs - the Black Horse in Rottingdean, another great pub, lost Harveys a year or so ago. It is now a sad place to visit, as the Harveys drinkers have gone elsewhere. Instead of taking the local brew away from all the pubs in one go, they have cleverly fought one battle at a time. I believe that they probably know exactly what they are doing.


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