Businesses received a boost in Horsham town centre over the Big Nibble weekend as a record breaking number of people took part in its real ale trail.
Eleven of the town’s watering holes opened their doors to a staggering 344 people who signed up for the ‘Horsham Beer Trail’, which was organised by Horsham District Council and sponsored by North Street’s Black Jug.
This year saw the highest ever number of pubs and bars use the annual event as a profile raiser, inviting customers in with their mini tasting tankard and accompanying programme.
Some pubs put on a choice of up to three tasters from Arundel Sussex Gold to Conqueror Stout, Saxon or Dark Star Hophead.
Ally Craig, manager at the Black Jug, said: “This was the first year that we have sponsored the beer trail, though we have been a part of the day for sometime now.
“To be a part of this day is wonderful, it also raises the profile of the pub in the local community and raises the profile of Horsham in the county.
“The beer trail has been going from strength to strength; we had some 200 people come through the doors, some regulars to the pub and the beer trail and some new folk too.
“But to see folk interested in real ales rather than lager is good to see. Events like the Beer Trail help no end to this move.”
Those who sampled beer in each of the participating venues and submitted their signed or stamped programme by the end of the day were entered into a free prize draw, again sponsored by The Black Jug on North Street. Horsham resident Mike Scriven was drawn as the lucky winner of a two course meal for two with a bottle of wine
He said: “I was in Horsham two years ago and unfortunately missed the beer trail. After hearing so many great stories from friends, I made sure to attend this year’s event and I was not disappointed.
“The atmosphere in town was incredible; I had never seen Horsham so busy. There were so many local foods and beers available to taste, many of which I had never heard of before.
“Thanks to The Black Jug for a truly great day and a lovely prize. I look forward to dining there very soon.”
The public was also invited to offer their thoughts and suggestions for the Big Nibble in order to help shape any future events.
Many people gave their feedback either in person over the weekend or later online, with the chance to win a bag full of local produce goodies courtesy of Horsham’s Crates Local Produce.
Winner Tom Keynes was delighted with his prize and said: “Living and working in and around the Horsham area I was excited to see an event which supported local produce.
“I enjoy good food and the Big Nibble didn’t disappoint; there was a huge variety which catered to every taste - I particularly enjoyed the local ales.
“I chose to give feedback as I believe these types of events are important as they support smaller local businesses which produce high quality food and drink, so I was excited to be able to offer my positive thoughts and hopefully it will return next year - winning the competition was of course a great bonus.
“Crates was the perfect sponsor for this event and I am happy to be receiving a prize which reflects a great day out.“