Friday 23 February 2018

Brewer denies malice in ‘ Beachy Head Christmas Jumper’ ale

Tom Pugh

A HEAD brewer said today that he could not understand the controversy over a festive real ale called the Beachy Head Christmas Jumper.

Roger Green, of the Beachy Head Brewery in Sussex, insisted there was no malice behind the title and that its meaning had been misconstrued.

Relatives of people who have died at the notorious 530ft (162m) suicide spot have criticised as insensitive the name given to the 7.2% ale, which is sold locally.

Keith Lane, 61, whose wife Maggie died at the chalk cliffs in March 2004, said he was "disgusted" when he learned of the name.

Mr Lane, a window cleaner who lives in Polegate, near Eastbourne, said the brewery could easily have chosen another name and urged it to have a rethink.

He said today: "All the people I have talked to about it have said to me how much in bad taste it is. If I had seen it in a pub, I would ask who brewed that.

"It could have been misconstrued but, now the brewery is aware of the objections to it, it should rename it because hundreds of people have been touched by deaths at Beachy Head."

The small local brewery refused to be drawn on whether it might change the name, adding that it had not received a single complaint in the two previous years it had been sold.

Mr Green said: "The name is derived from the woolly jumpers that Santa wears. It started life as a pump clip in one of the pubs with Santa in a jumper.

"When we bottled it we gave it a label with a standard background that we use, and now someone has taken it the wrong way.

"It didn't appear to us to be a problem. It's like many beer names, like the legless rambler. You could say that that encourages alcoholism."

He added: "As far as I'm concerned, there was no malice intended. I don't think there is anything controversial about it anyway."

Members of the Beachy Head Chaplaincy Team - who have reached out to people in distress at the cliffs since 2004 - also called on the brewery to change the name.

A spokesman said: "We are seeing increasing numbers of people coming to the Head who are struggling with serious difficulties, often due to current economic uncertainties.

Nine days ago the body of Angie Dowds, the television fitness trainer from Britain’s Biggest Loser , was retrieved from the base of the notorious suicide spot.

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