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Foodbank’s thanks as chocolate beer brews up Easter bonus

Keswick Brewery owner Sue Jefferson toasts North Lakes Foodbank with a glass of Thirsty Bunny

Thirsty Bunny is the name of a specially-brewed chocolate beer which had been due to go on sale at pubs and bars throughout Cumbria this Easter – until coronavirus forced every outlet to close.

But instead of pouring away all 1,000 pints of its ready-to-drink Easter tipple, Keswick Brewery is now using the beer to raise money for the North Lakes Foodbank, which is busier than ever because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Owner Sue Jefferson is having her brewery’s entire stock of Thirsty Bunny cask beer transferred into 1,200 individual cans and will be selling them on-line, with all profits going to the local foodbank.

“Thirsty Bunny has a lovely, chocolatey flavour and we always brew it for Easter but coronavirus means there is nowhere for us to sell it on draught this year. So rather than just let it all go to waste, we are trying to do something positive in response to this terrible pandemic,” said Sue.

The Easter beer is made with chocolate malt and there was a tankful of it standing idle at the brewery, enough to make about 100 cases each containing a dozen 440ml cans. However, it would only last around six weeks as a cask beer – and coronavirus looks like being around a lot longer.

“We will just cover our costs and duty. All profit from Thirsty Bunny will go to the foodbank which is desperate as people who would normally donate but can’t now because they are self-isolating or because they are worried about their own situation,” added Sue.

Adrian Cozens is project manager for the foodbank based at Lorton Street Methodist Church in Cockermouth from where it supplies collection centres in Wigton, Maryport, Workington, Whitehaven and Egremont. It has given three days of food to the equivalent of nearly 6,300 people in the last 12 months, with over a third of those it helps being children.

“This is nothing short of fabulous by Sue and the brewery. The best of society comes out in a crisis. For us, food is the most important thing – and money enables us to buy it. Self-isolating is hitting us hard as people can’t collect and many of our volunteers are 70 or over. A lot of our collection points like churches are also closed, so we are looking at delivering now. It will be great if people can stay at home and enjoy an Easter beer knowing they are helping us and others at this crucial time,” said Adrian.

Thirsty Bunny is available for pre-order from the brewery’s website keswickbrewery.co.uk . A case of 12 cans costs £32.50 and includes free local delivery or they can be collected from the brewery in Brewery Lane once they are ready. Nationwide delivery via its courier service is also available.

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