Saturday, April 28, 2007


Monday, April 23, 2007


Punter power (and G2) saves the regulars' favourite tipple

Tim Minogue
Monday April 23, 2007
The Guardian

Drinkers in the Sussex town of Lewes have just spent a weekend of mild frustration after brewers Greene King caved in on Friday and agreed to restore the Lewesians' beloved tipple, Harveys Bitter, to the town's most popular pub, the Lewes Arms. Hundreds of regulars had boycotted the 220-year-old inn since December, when the company withdrew the award-winning local beer despite a 1,200-signature petition and appeals from the town's MP, Norman Baker, in an attempt to force locals to drink GK's own IPA. Takings plummeted by 90% and Greene King garnered barrel-loads of bad publicity after being portrayed by regulars as an insensitive corporation ignoring the wishes of its customers.

After G2 covered the dispute in March, it became a story around the world. On Friday, as protesters outside the pub were being interviewed by a reporter from the German news magazine Der Spiegel, Greene King finally gave up the fight. The company's new managing director of local pubs, Jonathan Lawson, turned up and announced that Harveys would be restored from this week: "Following secondary fermentation in the cellar, it should be ready to drink towards the end of the week." Therein lies the Harveys' fans' frustration. Because this is "real" ale, they can't get stuck into their favourite until Thursday.

But it hasn't stopped them returning to the pub. Shirt-maker Catherine d'Arcy said: "It's wonderful. I've just been back in and it's like getting your home back after wrongful eviction. It was hippies versus suits and we won."

Fran Maloney, 51, a housing officer, said: "We've shown that it's possible for a small group of committed people to change the mind of a huge company. We knew the loss of trade was hardly going to make a dent in their huge profits, but the loss of reputation would really make them think, so that's what we had to aim for, and we succeeded." As a regular myself, I'll drink to that.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

PRESS REACTIONS: The Argus/Independent on Sunday

Friday, April 20, 2007


Press Release
20 April 2007

Greene King announces reinstatement of Harveys at the Lewes Arms

The reinstatement of Harveys to the Lewes Arms has been announced today. Greene King Local Pubs managing director Jonathan Lawson and regional manager Andrea Greenwood were at the pub today talking to their team and to the regulars, and letting them know of the decision. Jonathan said that the order for the beer had been placed and that following secondary fermentation in the cellar, it should be ready to drink towards the end of next week.

“We are passionate supporters of cask beer, are proud of our own brews and have recognised the intensity of feeling around Harveys at the Lewes Arms.” He said that the history of the pub, including its role as former brewery tap, combined with activities ranging from dwyle flunking to pea throwing made this hostelry very special.

“Now that Harveys is going back into the pub, my team and I are hoping that we can make a fresh start with our customers and are looking forward to helping the Lewes Arms once again play a full role in the local community.”

Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand added, “The Lewes Arms is a very special local pub with a unique place in the life of the town.

“We underestimated the depth of feeling and level of reaction about our initial decision and I believe that the conclusion the team put forward to return Harveys to the bar is the right one. I'm pleased that Jonathan and the team have taken on board our customers’ feedback and hope people will be pleased with the news.”

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Much fun was had by all at this top-notch shindig featuring the massed bands and musicians of the locale - all with connections to the Lewes Arms. More than £1,300 was raised through donations and a raffle. The bar took its highest takings ever.
Poster design & Photograph: Andy Gammon

Thursday, April 05, 2007


5 April 2007

Lewes Arms Decision In Formal Review Says Greene King

Greene King today confirmed that the decision to remove Harveys Best Bitter from the Lewes Arms is the subject of an internal review, the findings of which are to be presented to Local Pubs managing director Jonathan Lawson, when he joins the company next week.

“Speculation that the review is connected with the re-structure of our managed pub operations falls wide of the mark”, says Adam Collett, marketing director for managed pubs, “although it is true that we are reconsidering our decision.

“The reasons we withdrew the beer in the first place have not changed. We produce a great range of distinctive, top quality real ales, many of them award-winning, all of them traditionally brewed using the finest ingredients. Most people recognise that Greene King invests more in cask beer than any other brewer in the UK and welcome the positive impact we have on the beer sector as well as on local pubs. We defend the right to serve those beers in our pubs and, where we choose, not to sell rival beers.

“This is a pub we are very proud to have in our estate, but we did not fully appreciate its special position in Lewes as the former ‘Brewery Tap’, or take into account its history and traditions. We underestimated the strength of feeling which led to many locals boycotting what was once a Great British Pub. As a result, it has lost some of its character and greatness. The review should result in some positive decisions and we look forward to reconciling those involved in all sides of the debate.

“We can't put an exact date on when a decision can be expected, but it is likely to be within the next couple of weeks.”