Lewes MP Norman Baker named a beer champ

Lewes MP Norman Baker has been declared a ‘Beer Champion’ by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

He was presented with an award by Hamish Elder, Executive Chairman of Harveys Brewery, on Friday March 21.

Norman Baker recieving beer champion prize from Harveys.

Norman Baker recieving beer champion prize from Harveys.

The presentation took place at The Rights of Man pub in Lewes High Street and as part of the event the popular Harveys dray cart made an appearance in town.

The award follows the recent announcement from the Lib Dem Spring Conference last week that the party will work to empower local communities to save pubs from closing against their wishes by giving them the right to buy local pubs that are up for sale at a fair market price.

The policy will give pubs more protection in planning law.

In addition, Mr Baker and the Lib Dems fought a hard campaign against the Beer Duty Escalator, a system that had proved damaging to brewers across the country and led to increases in beer prices for pub-goers.

Whilst these price increases were able to be absorbed by the supermarkets, pubs were unable to do this which led to further increases in the difference between a can in the supermarket and a pint in the pub. The Lib Dems were successful in getting the Beer Duty Escalator scrapped in 2013.

In May last year, Mr Baker invited Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to the constituency to tour Harveys Brewery and to promote the local brewing traditions of Lewes.

The town’s MP said: “I am very honoured to receive this award. There is a long tradition of brewing locally and the local area is famous for its high quality local beer, including Harveys and Longman Brewery, and the large number of well regarded pubs locally.

“My work in the Home Office has often shown me the worst effects alcohol can have on society. However, it is community-minded breweries and friendly local pubs, like we have in this area, that really show off the positive side of the industry.

“Beer is a key foundation of a lot of very important local industries, I am pleased that my work in government, as well as that of the Lib Dems as a whole, is helping to secure this industry for the future.”