by Tony Halstead
The best in British beer and regional food is to be showcased to around 8,000 people at a new festival being launched by the North East & Yorkshire Beer & Pub Association.
The Great Northern Beer & Fine Food Weekend, which will take place this autumn, will offer consumers the opportunity to try beers and British produce from a range of national, regional and local brewers and food companies.
The two-day show, being held in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, on 22 and 23 October, has already received pledges of support from leading brewers and food companies.
The festival was initially thought up byCharles Dent, managing director of award-winning West Yorkshire brewer TimothyTaylor, which will take a high-profile role atthe event.
It is also hoped that the Society of Independent Brewers, which represents scores of British independent and micro producers, will give the weekend its backing.
Festival organiser Nigel Bankes, chairman of Timothy Taylor, said the festival aimed to give British beers and regionally-produced food a higher profile.
"The whole event is something our industry has never tried before on this sort of scale, but we feel a major celebration of beer and food is something that is long overdue.
"It's all about profiling the quality of British beers and linking them to a complementary range of food.
"We do not really promote our industry as a national treasure, so we have devised an event that will help to remedy this," he explained.
"But unlike some other events, this one is geared very much to the consumer and we are very much targeting the ABC1 foodies' and beer lovers," he added.
Beer & Pub Association secretary Lee Le Clercq stressed that although the weekend was being billed as a northern event, it was open to all UK brewers and food companies.
The weekend is being underwritten by the regional Beer & Pub Association and although initially planned to run for three years, it is hoped that it will become an annual event.
Further details can be found on the festival website: www.beerandfinefood.co.uk