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Monday, 18 November, 2002, 18:05 GMT
Prince of Ales
Prince Charles with the all-party beer group
Heir we go: Prince Charles with the all-party group
Prince Charles has become the Prince of Ales after being crowned Beer Drinker of the Year by a committee of MPs.


He is always amenable to trying the local ales

John Longden, Business in the Community

Charles' efforts to promote the pub as the centre of village life in the wake of the foot and mouth crisis earned him the accolade.

The all-party Parliamentary Beer Group awards the title to the public figure who has done the most to promote beer in the previous year.

Past winners include real ale-loving former Chancellor Ken Clarke in 1994, the year he did not raise beer duty in his budget and Joe Grundy from The Archers.

Unusual tie-ups

Prince Charles' enthusiastic patronage of the Pub is the Hub scheme has helped breathe new life into dozens of communities around the country, its organisers say.

The scheme, which started two years ago, opens up pubs threatened with closure for use by local shops and community groups.

Prince Charles
Charles enjoys a pint
Among the more unusual tie-ups championed by the scheme was the Weir Hotel in Bacup, Lancashire, which played host to the local Baptist church.

Landlord John Walmsley told BBC News Online: "We gave the church a temporary home before they moved to a new building.

"The congregation weren't big drinkers, but some of them used to stay behind after church for a quick half."

Other schemes have seen community groups, post offices and in one case a betting shop, set up shop in the local pub.

Local parish councils have also been encouraged to take over the running of village pubs to save them from closure.

'Delighted'

John Longden, of business in the community, the group behind the scheme, said Charles' support had been invaluable in raising its profile.

"If he knows a project is taking place he will always go out of his way to pay it a visit and show his support.

"He is always amenable to trying the local ales.

"I think he was delighted to win Beer Drinker of the Year.

"He joked that he'd always fancied visiting every Prince of Wales pub in the country and perhaps this was a start," Mr Longden told BBC News Online.

See also:

17 Dec 01 | England
27 Feb 02 | Wales
24 Jul 01 | UK
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