Great British Beer Festival

The Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) is an annual beer festival organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). It presents a selection of cask ales and other alcoholic drinks from the UK and beyond. The festival is also home to the Champion Beer of Britain awards and is held in August of each year. 2017 marked the 40th anniversary of the GBBF. GBBF's sister festival, the Great British Beer Festival Winter concentrates on beer styles such as porter and stout and is usually held in February each year.

GBBF 2004
Great British Beer Festival 2016 03
GBBF 2016
CAMRA Covent Garden Beer Exhibition 1975 half-pint glass


Earls Court exterior, GBBF 2007

GBBF is styled as the "biggest pub in the world"[1] and offers around 900 different beverages, at least 450 of which are beers from British breweries, as well as around 200 foreign beers from countries including Belgium, Germany and the USA, as well traditional British cider and perry.[1][2] The festival is staffed by unpaid volunteers, around 1000 of whom work at the festival.[1]

The festival is usually held during the first full week in August and runs from Tuesday to Saturday.[1] The Tuesday afternoon session is only open to the trade and press, with the Champion Beer of Britain award winners being announced mid-afternoon. The general public are admitted to afternoon and evening sessions from Tuesday evening until Saturday evening. CAMRA figures show that in 2006, over 66,000 people visited the festival over the course of the week and consumed some 350,000 pints of beer — one pint sold in less than half of every open second. Part of the huge improvement on 2005 (ticket sales were up 40%) was attributed by the festival organiser, Marc Holmes, to the move from Olympia to Earls Court, a much larger and easily accessible venue.[3] Since 2012 the event has returned to Olympia and remains massively popular.

As well as the beer, the festival offers entertainment such as live music and traditional pub games, as well as a variety of food stands.

The 2018 festival takes place 7-11 August.

Event history

CAMRA held their first large beer festival in Covent Garden, London in September 1975.[1] It was a 4-day event that attracted 40,000 people who drank 150,000 pints of real ale.[4] Strictly speaking it was not a GBBF, but it has been considered the forerunner of the festival. The first "proper" GBBF was held in 1977 at Alexandra Palace.[1] The venue has moved between cities since it was first established but has settled in London since 1991.[1] The only year in which a festival was not held was 1984, due to a fire at the venue.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Oliver, Garrett (2011). Oxford Companion to Beer. Oxford University Press. p. 406. ISBN 9780195367133.
  2. ^ Atherton, Sophie (11 August 2016). "The Great British Beer Festival: what to drink (and how to survive)". The Daily Telegraph.
  3. ^ Marc Holmes, festival organiser, speech in the Volunteer's Arms, Great British Beer Festival, 5 August 2006
  4. ^ "CAMRA 2012: A Strategic Campaigning Framework Milestones in CAMRA's History" (pdf). Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  5. ^ Key Events in CAMRA's History, CAMRA, 2014, retrieved 21 March 2016
  6. ^ Great British Beer Festival 2012, CAMRA's Great British Beer Festival, Facebook page, 3 February 2011, retrieved 26 April 2011
  7. ^ "Olympia Events". Archived from the original on 6 September 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2013.

External links

Beer festival

A beer festival is an event at which a variety of beers are available for purchase. There may be a theme, for instance beers from a particular area, or a particular brewing style such as winter ales.

Campaign for Real Ale

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is an independent voluntary consumer organisation headquartered in St Albans, England, which promotes real ale, real cider and the traditional British pub. With over 191,000 members, it is now the largest single-issue consumer group in the UK, and is a founding member of the European Beer Consumers Union (EBCU).

Castle Rock Brewery

Castle Rock Brewery is a brewery and pub group based in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. It was originally set up as a joint venture with Bramcote Brewery. Bramcote Brewery was wound up and a new company was set up, 50% owned by Tynemill and 50% owned by the previous owners of Bramcote Brewery, on a new site next to Tynemill’s pub, The Vat and Fiddle, located on Queensbridge road close to Nottingham railway station. The Vat and Fiddle became the ‘Brewery Tap’, serving over 10 real ales at any one time, several of which are Castle Rock's.

Following slow beginnings Castle Rock Brewery grew steadily, and in 2001 Tynemill bought out the other shareholders and Castle Rock Brewery became a wholly owned subsidiary of Tynemill. A new head brewer was recruited – Pete Wooding, and the brewery was expanded with new equipment which led to the development of new brands. A few years later the head brewer was changed, and the brewery recruited Adrian Redgrove in 2004. After his appointment, the brewery went from strength to strength and began winning awards for various brews, largely brought about by Adrian Redgrove's skill and consistency.

Castle Rock Brewery had been brewing at capacity for over a year and the decision was made in 2009 to build a new brewery in adjoining property, giving Castle Rock Brewery a potential capacity of 300+ barrels per week. The brewery expansion came into place only shortly after one of Castle Rock's regular brews, Harvest Pale, won Supreme Champion Beer of Britain at the Great British Beer Festival. Production has grown over the years from 35 barrels per week in 2003, to 115–120 barrels per week in 2009–10, to 300+ barrels per week in their newly expanded brewery in 2010.

Castle Rock pubs have also been extremely successful, winning Pub Group of the Year accolade in 2002, 2006 and 2008.

Champion Beer of Britain

The Champion Beer of Britain (also known as CBOB) is an award presented by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), at their annual Great British Beer Festival in early August.

Champion Winter Beer of Britain

The Champion Winter Beer of Britain (also known as WiBOB) is an award presented by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), at its annual Great British Beer Festival Winter in January (latterly February). The award is similar to the Champion Beer of Britain (or CBOB) which is presented in August. Until the winter of 1996 these were presented as part of the main Champion Beer of Britain awards, but were moved to the Great British Beer Festival Winter from its creation in 1997.

Daniel Batham and Son

Bathams is a brewery in Brierley Hill, West Midlands, England established in 1877 in a former slaughterhouse. The brewery is described by the CAMRA Good Beer Guide as "A classic Black country small brewery". It produces three cask conditioned beers, Best Bitter (4.3%), Mild (3.5%) and XXX (6.3%), a Christmas special. The Best Bitter won its highly contested class at the Great British Beer Festival in 1991. Bottled versions are also available at Bathams pubs.

The Brewery is currently run by brothers Tim and Matt Batham, having been in the Batham family for five generations. It is one of few breweries that still use 54-gallon hogshead casks.

Bathams owns ten pubs in the Black Country and West Midlands:

The Britannia Inn, Sedgley, Dudley

The Fox and Grapes, Pensnett, Brierley Hill

The Lamp Tavern, Dudley

The New Inn, Wordsley

The Plough and Harrow, Kinver

The Plough Inn, Shenstone (near Kidderminster)

The Royal Exchange, Stourbridge

The Swan Inn, Chaddesley Corbett

The Unicorn, Wollaston, Stourbridge

The Vine Inn, Brierley Hill. The Home of Batham's Beer, also known as the Bull & Bladder.An eleventh pub in Hagley is planned to open in 2017.

Farnham Beer Exhibition

Farnham Beer Exhibition, usually but informally known as Farnham Beerex (or just Beerex), is the longest established beer festival in the United Kingdom to be held annually on the same premises. Held in Farnham, Surrey, the first Beerex took place in 1977, and serves as a charity fundraiser for the Lions Club of Farnham.

Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company

Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company, commonly contracted to Gritty's, is a brewery, with locations in (from south to north) Portland, Freeport, and Auburn, Maine, USA. Quebec Canada.

Gritty's began as a brewpub in Portland, founded in 1988. In 1995, a second location with a larger brewing facility was opened in Freeport. The company experienced a downturn in sales in the late 1990s as did most craft breweries. A third brewpub was opened in Auburn in 2005. The company's production volume that year, 2005, was in excess of 250,000 gallons. By 2006, Gritty's was the third largest Maine brewer, after Shipyard Brewing and D. L. Geary Brewing.Among the microbrews produced by Gritty's was Vacationland Summer Ale, reviewed for the Hartford Courant in 2008, and Gritty McDuff's Best Bitter. Gritty's has frequently been awarded the titles of "Maine's Best Brew Pub", "Best Maine Microbrew" and "Best Bar" in statewide polls. In 2011 Gritty's was awarded Restaurateur of the Year by the Maine Restaurant Association. Gritty's ales have been repeat winners at the annual Real Ale Festival in Chicago and have also appeared as Featured International Selections at the Great British Beer Festival.To celebrate Gritty's 21st anniversary, the brewery released its 21 IPA. The brew was created at the Freeport brewery and originally called "Punch You in the IPA", a reference to the Phish song "Punch You in the Eye".

Harveys Brewery

For the Bristol, England sherry and wine merchant, see John Harvey & Sons.Harvey's Brewery is a brewery in Lewes, East Sussex, England.

Harvey's estate includes 48 tied houses, mostly in Sussex, and several in London, Royal Oak, Southwark, The Cat's Back, Wandsworth and The Phoenix, Stockwell. It sells and distributes its main product, Sussex Best Bitter, to other pubs and social clubs in South East England.

John Harvey established the Bridge Wharf Brewery on its present site by the River Ouse, overlooking Cliffe Bridge.

Kelham Island Brewery

The Kelham Island Brewery is a small independent brewery based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England.

In 1990 the brewery was opened (the first for 100 years to open in Sheffield) on purpose-built premises on Alma Street by the owner of the Fat Cat public house, Dave Wickett. As well as the Fat Cat, the brewery owns a British-styled pub in Rochester, New York (United States), named the Old Toad.Its beer Pale Rider won the "Champion Beer of Britain" award at the 2004 Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) organised Great British Beer Festival.The brewery is situated next to the Kelham Island Industrial Museum.

National Winter Ales Festival

The CAMRA National Winter Ales Festival (often shortened to NWAF) is a yearly event organised by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). From 2018 it was marketed and known as Great British Beer Festival Winter. The purpose of the event is to showcase the best real ales available in the UK in the winter months (for example stouts and porters). It was first held in 1997 to give more exposure to these styles of beer as they are often not available during the summer when its sister festival, the larger Great British Beer Festival, is held. Great British Beer Festival Winter is also home to the Champion Winter Beer of Britain awards.

Otley Brewing Company

The Otley Brewing Company Limited, colloquially Otley Brewery, is a brewery located in Pontypridd, Wales. Established in 2005, it has won several awards, including the Champion Beer of Wales in 2006. The head brewer is Charlie Otley. In October 2016, the brewery was put up for sale by its owners. In February 2018 the brewery ceased trading.

Queens Hall, Leeds

Queens Hall was a concert and exhibition venue located in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England. It was originally a tram and then a bus depot and had latterly became a venue hosting events such as the Ideal Home Exhibition and the 1981, 1982, 1988 and 1989 Great British Beer Festival, flea markets, travelling fairs and concerts.

Smuttynose Brewing Company

Smuttynose Brewing Company is a craft brewery located on the historic Towle Farm in Hampton, New Hampshire, United States. The company takes its name from Smuttynose Island, one of the Isles of Shoals. Smuttynose beers are all unfiltered and known for their distinctive labels, many of which feature original photography. They also distribute widely, available in 25 states and 11 countries. The Towle Farm campus has been certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council, recognizing the efficient design and green mindset of the company.

In March 2018, the company was sold at auction and subsequently purchased by Runnymede Investments of North Hampton, New Hampshire.

Society of Independent Brewers

The Society of Independent Brewers (formerly the Small Independent Brewers Association, or SIBA) is an organization representing the interests of independent breweries in the UK. Founded in 1980, it was intended to fight the pub-tie system, under which large brewers owned 80% of the UK's pubs. It changed its name in 1995 to reflect the changing aspirations of its members, but retained its original acronym.

St. Peter's Brewery

St. Peter's is an independent brewery founded in 1996 by John Murphy in former agricultural buildings adjacent to St. Peter’s Hall in St Peter, South Elmham, near Bungay, Suffolk, England.

The brewery produces cask ales, but are best known for their cold filtered bottled beers. The oval shape of their signatory 500 ml bottle is based on an 18th-century gin bottle from Gibbstown, by the Delaware River near Philadelphia but a round version is also common.Owner John Murphy founded the marketing consultancy Interbrand and was admitted to an honorary degree of Doctor of Social Sciences at Brunel University in 2001. The brewery also owns The Jerusalem Tavern, a pub in Clerkenwell, London.

Timothy Taylor Brewery

Timothy Taylor's is a family-owned regional brewery founded in 1858 by Timothy Taylor. Originally based in Cook Lane, Keighley, West Yorkshire, England. Timothy Taylor's moved to larger premises in 1863 at Knowle Spring in Keighley, where they remain.

The brewery is still family owned and was family run until 2014, when the Chief Executive Charles Dent retired and became Chairman.

Triple fff Brewery

The Triple fff Brewing Company Ltd is a small independent brewer of real ale based in Four Marks, Alton, Hampshire, England, founded in November 1997, and producing award-winning bitters, milds and stouts. They own two pubs, the Railway Arms in Alton and The White Lion in Aldershot.

Triple fff was launched in 1997 by Graham Trott,and his partner Frank. They installed a 5 barrel plant in one of the units vacated by the now closed furniture factory on Station Approach in the village of Four Marks.

Graham and Frank took a musical theme for their brewery name as triple fff is the strong note; louder, louder, louder. Some people found the name amusing, and referred to their beer as: Frank's Flushing Fluid. Franks' share of the business was bought out after a few years by Graham.

The beer names came from song titles of the 60s rock icons, Van Morrison, Led Zeppelin and Cream with Moondance (4.2%ABV), Stairway (4.6%ABV) and the Pressed Rat and Warthog (3.8%ABV).

The year 2000 saw an expansion into an 18 Barrel plant and in 2006 the brewery became a 50 Barrel system brewing over 31,000 pints a week.

The brewery produces real ale and has won over 35 awards, including overall Champion Beer of Britain at the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Great British Beer Festival. They use ingredients, including Maris Otter Barley malted in the traditional way at Warminster Maltings. Their beers include:

Moondance - one of their original beers and champion Best Bitter of Britain 2002 when it also won the bronze award in the overall competition. In 2006 it won silver in the Best Bitter category.

Comfortably Numb - their other original brew, and a mid brown strong ale

Alton's Pride - a golden brown session bitter which gained the bronze award in the Bitter category at Olympia in 2003 and 2004 and the overall Champion Beer of Britain award in 2008.

Pressed Rat and Warthog - champion Mild of Britain 2002

Stairway - a pale brown ale with a flavour of summer fruits

Little Red Rooster - a rich, dark beer from a complex combination of pale and dark maltsA recent venture has been to produce a beer from a recipe by Gilbert White, the famous naturalist born in 1720 in nearby Selborne. The recipe uses hops and smoked barley.

York Brewery

York Brewery opened in May 1996 in York, England using the disused brewery equipment of Lions Original Brews from Burnley and was the first brewery within the city walls for 40 years. In 2007, it expanded so to increase its output by 50 per cent. In December 2008 York Brewery was taken over by Mitchell's Hotels and Inns of Lancaster which planned to expand its business and create jobs. In December 2018 Mitchells of Lancaster, and therefore York Brewery, went in to administration with the brewery and 4 pubs subsequently being purchased by Black Sheep Brewery.The brewery is located centrally within York on Toft Green, and offers tours of its facilities to the public. Whilst the frontage of the brewery on Toft Green is relatively modern the rear of the building, overlooking Micklegate, is significantly older and was the birthplace of Joseph Hansom the inventor of the Hansom Cab. The building was also where the furniture company Whitby Oliver was started in 1897; that company remains the landlord to this day and its logo can still be seen on the side of the top floor offices above Brigantes pub on Micklegate.


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