Friday, March 23, 2007

The Lewes Arms

There is an article in today's Guardian on the battle for the Lewes Arms in, naturally enough, Lewes.

Greene King has taken the pub over and is refusing to sell everyone's favourite local bitter Harvey's. The locals have got up a petition, which the town's Lib Dem MP Norman Baker has signed, and are maintaining a picket. According to the Guardian, this is succeeding in persuading most people not to drink at the Lewes Arms until the brewery agrees to sell Harvey's again.

The article contains a piece of disingenuity that is remarkable even by corporate standards. It quotes a written statement from the head of the Greene King pubs division:
All over the country, brewers sell their own beer in their own pubs - it's a practice as old as the pub itself. We recognise that some of our customers at the Lewes Arms don't accept this practice, but we are proud of our wonderful beers and proud to sell them.
But locals are quite happy for the pub to sell Greene King beers. What they want is for it to sell Harvey's as well.

It happens that I know the Lewes Arms from the days when a friend lived in the town. I even arranged to hold a meeting of the Malcolm Saville Society there once.

It is an eccentric and quirky pub - perhaps a little self-consciously so, but I wish the campaigners well. Here is a link to the website of The Friends of the Lewes Arms, which the Guardian fails to provide.

1 comment:

Disgruntled Radical said...

The Lewes Arms was established in 1789, a good year for the friends of liberty, including Tom Paine who lived in Lewes a few years earlier. Greene King took over the pub a few years ago and tried to remove Harvey's bitter then but the regulars objected. Now they're trying again, but I expect the regulars, most of whom are Bonfire Boys, will win again.