A staff member at work in the brewery
Image caption The brewery has been unable to sell the beer to its usual customers in the hospitality industry

It sounds like an offer drinkers anywhere would raise a glass to – a brewery is giving away its beer after being left with a surplus amid the coronavirus lockdown.

The Alnwick Brewery Company in Northumberland has asked local residents to take its cask beer home in their own containers.

In return, they were requested to make a donation that would go to the NHS.

The brewery said one person “joked he would arrive with a bathtub”.

With pubs and restaurants closed, the firm was left with no-one to sell its dozens of casks to. Each one would hold about 70 pints (40 litres).

“We’d brewed up in anticipation of Easter. Suddenly the business was shut down and we thought ‘what can we do with this?’,” co-owner Ian Robinson said.

“It’s all very well giving it away but why not try to raise some money through donations?

“The beer has a relatively short lifespan and we’re down to its last three weeks so we’ll be doing this for the next few Fridays.”

‘All shapes and sizes’

About £450 has already been raised through giveaways at the brewery on two previous Fridays and its shop in Alnwick town centre will be open later for a further collection from its cellar.

“Someone arrived with two 20-litre containers,” Mr Robinson added. “We’ve had people with empty Coke bottles and things of all shapes and sizes.

“The camaraderie and banter when they’re queuing up has been really amusing.

“Some people have been coming on bikes and farmers have been walking in. Certainly not everyone has been coming by car.”

The firm said it was applying social distancing measures to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.

A number of it workers have been furloughed, although the brewer has continued working.

The firm has also donated cakes, biscuits and toiletries to the dementia department at Newcastle General Hospital and care homes in the Alnwick area.

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