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Harvey's closes its brewery tour waiting list due to soaring demand
A Sussex brewer has had to close its waiting list for tours – because they are too popular.
Harveys, the oldest independent brewery in the county and the creator of Sussex Best, currently offers free trips around its site in the heart of Lewes.
But bosses say they have become a victim of their own success as the waiting list has soared past the two-year mark.
The firm has now said it cannot accept any more applications for at least the next 18 months, leaving fans with a long wait before they can sample the place where their favourite beers are created.
Hamish Elder, the managing director of Harveys, told The Argus: “We could make it a commercial activity with a tour guide but do not feel like we want to do that. There are only three of us that take groups around as we want to be able to give real detailed responses to questions.
“We don’t just talk about the brewery: we talk about the history, the heritage and the beer. We want it to be a thank-you to our customers and a thank you to the people of Sussex.”
Tours are conducted by the firm’s owners or brewers outside normal working hours and are between two and three hours long.
There are normally about three a week between March and November with groups of up to 70.
Mr Elder said: “The more people enjoy it the more word gets around. It’s quite an administrative task going through all of the names of people applying.
“There are some people leaving the tour who turn around and ask if they can put their names down on the waiting list for two to three years’ time.”
Mr Elder said those looking to “jump the queue” may be better off speaking to local pubs or Campaign for Real Ale groups as they regularly book tours around the site in Cliffe High Street.
Head brewer Miles Jenner said: “We are committed to accommodating all outstanding requests, in strict rotation, at the earliest opportunity.
“Bear with us during this period. Any requests received will be acknowledged but applicants will be asked to re-apply when we open booking again.”