After an absence of more than 50 years, a famous falcon could be landing at bars, boozers and taverns across our region - as a historic local brewery plans to buy back its former pubs.

Lacons, which started in Great Yarmouth in 1760, has launched a project to reclaim some of its former pub estates.

In the 1960s, the brewery had 350 pubs in the east of England, including 50 in London, which were lost when they were taken over by Whitbread Brewery in 1965.

The new project comes 10 years after the business returned to Great Yarmouth in 2013 - and begins with the recent acquisition of The Artichoke Pub in Broome, a village north of Bungay.

Dereham Times: The Artichoke pub in Broome, which has been bought by Lacons Brewery.The Artichoke pub in Broome, which has been bought by Lacons Brewery. (Image: Lacons)

Mick Carver, managing director, said: "We are committed to treating our tenants fairly and supporting communities and local producers near our pubs.

"This reflects our forward-thinking approach and company ethos that values independence and community."

The brewery is hoping to buy back pubs in the old Lacons portfolio, and this will be their focus, but with many of those establishments now part of other groups and portfolios, it will not be an easy or quick process.

Additionally, many of those old pubs have closed. 

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Dereham Times: Amy Hancock, Lacons marketing manager, next to the famous falcon emblem at the Artichoke pub in Broome.Amy Hancock, Lacons marketing manager, next to the famous falcon emblem at the Artichoke pub in Broome. (Image: Lacons)

Amy Hancock, the brewery's marketing manager, said: "The project is to create a portfolio of pubs that embrace our company ethos, values of independence, and community focus.

"We need to ensure these businesses are sustainable in a challenging marketplace, so we will explore a number of opportunities and ownership options, assessing each option on its merit.

"We are currently assessing some of these, but this is a long-term project."

She also said the company are planning to bring "independence" into every aspect of their pubs, "from farm to fork and grain to glass", with everything sourced fair trade and local, or through an independent or grown onsite in a cook's garden. 

Dereham Times: The old Lacons Brewery on Brewery Plain in central Yarmouth.The old Lacons Brewery on Brewery Plain in central Yarmouth. (Image: Archant Archive)


Known for its feathered emblem – a proud falcon that stood sentinel at hundreds of pubs across the county – Lacons was a much-loved brewery with a proud history that dated back to 1760.

Run by the Lacon family and sited in a prime location in Great Yarmouth, the brewery produced a wide-ranging and far-reaching line of ales, that were supped in pubs as far away Newcastle.

At its height, Lacons controlled 300 pubs, employed 150 workers and about 50,000 casks of ale were shipped weekly to pubs in the City of London.

Local legend has it that in 1942, during a German bombing raid, firemen decided to rush to the brewery to save it from ravaging flames while other buildings burnt, including St Nicholas Church.

The brewery's long lineage – which made Great Yarmouth a prime location for beer lovers – came to an end in 1968 when its then owners Whitbread shut it down.

Dereham Times: Lacon's last brew on March 1, 1968.Lacon's last brew on March 1, 1968. (Image: Archant Archive)

After an absence of 45 years, the company returned home to Great Yarmouth in 2013, with the brewery celebrating its "independence" on May 21 of that year under the helm of managing director Mick Carver.

Dereham Times: Mick Carver, managing director of Lacons Brewery.Mick Carver, managing director of Lacons Brewery. (Image: Submitted)

Two years later, the brewery opened its first pub in 50 years when it took over the Honingham Buck, a former 17th century coaching inn located just off the A47 between Dereham and Norwich.

In 2022, Lacons acquired Calvors Brewery, based near Ipswich and which had been running since 2008.