Dave Cornell (left), pictured at the time bought Poppyland Brewery from Martin Warren (right), at the start of 2019

Poppyland Brewery, in Cromer, has brewed only once since lockdown — to produce a specialist beer using the herb Yerba mate.

It was due to be sold at the Cambridge Beer Festival for the Darwin celebration (HMS Beagle was launched in 1820). Now it is to be made available in bottles. The brewery has also decided to launch its beer in seven-pint boxes.

Owner and brewer, Dave Cornell, said: “Last year, we decided to branch out beyond brewing and, on 2nd January ordered distilling equipment. This was delivered and installed one week before lockdown. We had a full order book for beer, and looked to complement this with East Coast Cromer Gin.

“One week after lockdown started, every email coming in was a cancellation of a festival or event, and our beer production was totally destroyed in a fortnight. Our gin launch date has been put back and back and back…

“But we are still here, and when it starts to get back to normal, we will bounce back!”

He added: “As we couldn’t sell our products, we changed tactics and made hand sanitiser. We decided to give it away to those who need it the most — particularly to Cromer Cares, a community group supporting the vulnerable.”

ASked for his main message from lockdown, Dave said: “Buy locally brewed beers! There are great Norfolk beers to buy, both in the supermarkets and pubs. Norfolk produces the best malts and makes the best beers, and they are readily available to buy from the best pubs!” Soon, he hopes…

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