WHILE the coronavirus lockdown has been eased and shops have reopened, leading to some semblance of normality, there is one aspect of our daily lives that is yet to return.

Across the country, pubs and bars remain closed for the time being, with as yet no indication of when they will reopen.

Thankfully, some pubs have taken to providing their customers with some much needed beer to get through the long lockdown nights.

The Hexham Courant has launched a campaign celebrating businesses going above and beyond in the community, identifying their special efforts by crowing them Trader of the Week.

This week, the bearer of the crown is the Dipton Mill Inn and Hexhamshire Brewery, for helping to keep the people of the Tyne Valley’s whistles suitably wet.

The ever-popular pub was named the best in the county by the Campaign for Real Ale earlier this year and brews its own beer in the picturesque back garden, where its Hexhamshire Brewery is based.

But with the majority of its trade based on cask ales, the coronavirus lockdown presented a problem.

Not content to sit by and run on government support, the pub launched a free local delivery service of bottled beers in the Tyne Valley from Haltwhistle to Prudhoe, also taking in Allendale.

Unsurprisingly, the prospect of having award-winning beer delivered to your door has gone down well.

Mark Brooker, who runs the onsite brewery, explained what life has been like at the pub during lockdown.

He said: “It’s just been me in the brewery, although my son has been a big help. We’ve been doing lots of bottles from the brewery, and it’s gone really well.

“People were contacting us before we’d even advertised it asking if they could have some of our beer.

“People still want their cask beer.

"We did a lot of gifts for Father’s Day.

“Our customers have really been supporting us all along - it's been a tremendous response. We’ve also had some people get in touch who have never heard of us before - I asked how could they not have heard of us.

“It doesn’t make up for not being able to have a pub full of people and serving food, but with government support it’s helped pay the bills.

“Hopefully we will get some guidance soon on how we can reopen.”

In addition, the pub is not letting the coronavirus outbreak spoil its weekly pub quiz.

The Dipton Mill Inn has been running a weekly Wednesday night quiz for several years, and not wanting to break with tradition, owner Janet Brooker has been continuing it on the pub’s Facebook page.

Mark added: “We’ve been able to maintain links with customers. You still get the social aspect.

“We’ve been doing the free deliveries to serve the local area - we like people people happy at home."

Nominate your trader of the week here.