The founder and chairman of Lincoln business Small Beer has sadly died, with people describing him as a “real giant of the cask ale industry”.
Tony Eastwood founded Small Beer, which is based in Bracebridge Heath, 40 years ago and the Lincoln cask and craft beer wholesaler celebrated four decades in business earlier this year.
He died peacefully on Friday, November 13 at the age of 72.
His son Rob is the managing director of the firm and paid tribute to his father saying: “People have described my dad as a real giant of the cask ale industry without ever having brewed a drop of beer.
“He was passionate about championing British beer and brewers and we’re determined to carry on his legacy by ensuring cask ale continues to thrive in these challenging times.
“Dad was such a family man and Small Beer is a family business with all of his children and members of the extended family having worked there over the years.
“All of us miss him so much and although we cannot be together in the way that we would want to celebrate his life just now, we would encourage everyone who knew him to raise a glass to a life well-lived. Cheers dad.”
Tony was born in Leicester in 1948 and studied at Newcastle University where he met Jude.
They moved to her home city of Lincoln in 1969 and were married a year later.
They swapped their local government roles for a life in the beer trade and their business expanded to include the Victoria and Golden Eagle pubs in Lincoln, as well as the Eagle in Boston and off-licences in Sheffield and Cleethorpes.
The couple opened Small Beer off-licence in Lincoln in 1980 and the business grew to become Britain’s leading cask ale and craft beer wholesaler.
The Leicester City FC fan was also a shareholder and director of Castle Rock brewing and pub group and a former chairman of Lincoln CAMRA. He was also a former director of the National Drink Distributors (NDD).
Tony loved nothing more than spending time with Jude, their children Rob, Jenny and Stella, their partners Karen, Mark, Ash and grandchildren Albert, Elsie and Max.