Local News

Durham Brewery hopes drinkers go quackers for John Duck Ale

Landlords are hoping drinkers will go quackers for a new North East brew named after a Dick Whittington-style former city mayor.

The John Duck, in Durham city centre, has teamed up with Durham Brewery to produce John Duck Ale, brewed with American Dana, Palisade and Bullion hops.

“I suppose you could call it the ultimate in ‘local pub’ and ‘local brewer’ contract, with the brewery being only a mile or so from our own front door,” said manager Andy Hughes, who also runs The Angel and the Elm Tree in the city.

“And we are more than pleased to add our own John Duck brew to the array of ales we provide to our customers.

“Plus in practical terms it means that, come the winter months when the deliveries are finding it difficult to get through on snow-covered roads, we are ‘on the doorstep’.”

Each year the three pubs sell over 10,000 pints of local beer and Andy is hoping the new addition will encourage more people to visit his Claypath boozer.

“We have different clientele in each of our pubs but they all like the taste of a local beer and it is also good to help out a local business into the bargain,” he said.

“It is important to us that we give our customers what they want and Durham Brewery has provided us with fine ales for more than five years and we are more than happy to continue this.”

The Bowburn-based brewery’s Elly Bell also welcomed the deal.

“It is always great to see the beers we brew have a local market,” she said.

“We know that Andy and his team are always getting positive feedback from the beers they sell and long may it continue.

“Moreover when customers see that a pub has its own beer, it shows they care about what they sell.”

Both the beer and the pub are named after Sir John Duck of Haswell.

The story of his rise to prominence in the 17th century closely resembles that of Dick Whittington.

He arrived in Durham in 1655 and attempted to become a butcher’s apprentice but was refused work because he had no documentation, and there were fears he was Scottish – something that was forbidden by the local butchers guild.

When one butcher finally accepted to take Duck on, the Butcher’s Guild persuaded him to change his mind and legend tells that Duck went wandering by the riverside in Durham when a passing raven dropped a coin of gold at his feet.

Quite how he then became wealth is not clear – though evidence suggests Duck was not always law abiding – but in 1680 he became the Mayor of Durham and ultimately progressed to the rank of a baronet.

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