With pubs shuttered across the United Kingdom, a brewery in the northeast of England is giving away free beer on Fridays. In return, it's asking recipients to donate to the country's health care workers.
When the British government announced a lockdown in late March, the country's tens of thousands of pubs were forced to shut down, leaving Northumberland's Alnwick Brewery Company with 80 casks of ale, stout and IPA it had brewed for the Easter holiday.
Rather than dump the beer, which has shelf lives that expire this month, the brewery alerted local residents and has instituted socially distanced giveaways on Fridays. The freebies started at the brewery and have now moved to its shop in Alnwick (pronounced like "panic," without the "p"), a market town of about 8,000 between Newcastle and the Scottish capital of Edinburgh.
"We've had a queue of about 15 people outside since about 10 o'clock this morning," said Ian Robinson, co-owner of the Harry Hotspur Group, which owns the brewery. "We've already been back to the brewery to get a few more casks."
Nearby residents have driven, walked or biked to the giveaways, carrying whatever they can find to bring the beer home.
"People had 20-liter containers," Robinson said, "a lot were just bringing milk bottles and empty Coke bottles."
One asked jokingly if he could bring a spare bathtub.
The brewery puts out a collection box at the giveaways. Robinson said, so far, people have donated nearly $600 to the National Health Service, which has borne the brunt of the pandemic while often struggling to find enough personal protective equipment.
Robinson said the brewery will keep giving beer away on Fridays this month until all the casks are empty.
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