An increasing number of beer festivals are appearing all
over Cheshire. Some are run by, or in conjunction with CAMRA. Others are
run by pubs, clubs or charity organisations. CAMRA is keen to support
any such event that promotes awareness and choice of real ale.
We would like to offer our services to assist you in the
planning and running of your festival. You are urged to contact us at
an early stage in the planning process. We have drawn up a list of things
to consider, but here are some notes of the main ways in which CAMRA can
It makes sense to plan the date early, and to avoid a clash with
other festivals in the area. In recent years, we have seen a number of
date clashes, with a consequent adverse effect on turnover at each venue.
If you can let us know your intended dates, we can advise you of
potential clashes, and we will publish the dates so others can avoid your
You cannot have too much publicity. Leaving aside your own efforts in
postering, leafleting, on-site notices and advertising in the local press,
we can offer further outlets.
We can carry details both on our web-site www.outinncheshire.co.uk
and in our newsletter, "Out Inn Cheshire", whether in the editorial
or as an actual advertisement. The newsletter is read by around 30,000
pub-users, so this is a highly targeted way of advertising.
Please be aware though, that we publish quarterly,
and you will need to give us plenty of notice to ensure that we can publicise
your event in the issue closest to your dates. A lead time of four
months or so might be needed, depending on the dates involved.
When you tell us about your festival, please let us have as much detail
as you can;
· Dates and hours of opening
· Costs of entry
· Number (and details if possible) of real ales and ciders
· Details of food
· Location and transport details
· Details of music and other attractions
CAMRA members can help by distributing leaflets for you
in pubs all over the county.
Signage on and near the site is also important. We recommend
the use of posters, A-boards and banners.
While CAMRA has some equipment which may just possibly be available
for hire, we appreciate that most festival operators will make their own
arrangements. This can be a time-consuming and frustrating activity.
To assist, we would be happy to sponsor a programme of lending and borrowing
taps, stillages, chocks, cooling equipment, hand pumps etc with your fellow
festival operators, If you would like to take part in such a scheme, let
us know what you have to lend, and we will try to co-ordinate you all!
We recommend the use of lined oversized glasses, to avoid
Plastic glasses are not popular with drinkers, and should only be used
if absolutely necessary.
You should give thought to the cooling of the beers in warm weather.
Customers appreciate the use of chairs and tables if space permits.
Choice of beers
You will no doubt have your own ideas here, but if you like, we are happy
to offer advice. We would always, for example, encourage you to have a
degree of variety of styles, with examples of a wheat beer, a golden ale,
a fruit beer, a porter or stout, a mild, a strong ale, a session bitter
and some cider or perry, in addition to the more obvious strong bitters.
We would strongly advocate the presence of at least some Cheshire-brewed
real ale. 'LocAle' is an important issue, and many of your customers will
be aware of the need to support local businesses in this enjoyable and
ecolgocally sensible maner!
Part of your customer base will be people seeking out rare beers, and
you should bear this in mind when ordering.
We would always recommend the availability of soft drinks (possibly even
free for nominated drivers).
We do not advocate selling lagers, keg beers, cans or bottles (preferably
at all, but certainly not from the same bar) as this confuses the message,
and prejudices the sale of your cask beer, where good turnover is absolutely
essential. In most cases, the casks you have ordered for the festival
will need to be sold during the course of the festival itself, and you
should strongly encourage the lager drinkers to switch to cask beer for
Many festival goers appreciate the availability of food. Often this is
better if it is simple.
We recommend pub games, and can in suitable circumstances provide these
(under our supervision). Live Music can bring in lots of customers, although
others can find it off-putting. Most CAMRA festivals have at least one
If you can co-ordinate your event so that it coincides with a sports event
or other attraction on the same site, you will attract more customers.
We may be able to have members present at your festival, for at least
some of the time, to staff a membership & information stand, run games
or even to assist on the bar if you need help. Our experienced Bar Managers
can also offer practical advice and assistance if you need it.
We can provide attractive posters to brighten up the venue, and we now
have large banners to help draw attention to your event.
Although you may expect many casual visitors to your event, it is vital
that you generate as much support from your own customer base as possible.
Sports and Social clubs should try to arrange milestone events to coincide
with the festival, so as to generate a captive audience.
Pub festivals should be promoted vigorously to the regulars.
If you are new to festival organising, visit other people's festivals
to get ideas, and talk to us. We have a wealth of experience and are happy
Please follow this link to a useful Check-List
for Festival Organisers