Great British Beer Festival is a great shop window for real ale

By Mike Benner

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Real ale, Great british beer festival

Benner: "Now is a great time for our national drink as it has become a leading light in the slow, painful decline of the UK beer market"
Benner: "Now is a great time for our national drink as it has become a leading light in the slow, painful decline of the UK beer market"
It’s that time of the year again. Each and every August 1,000 Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) volunteers pack their bags and head down to west London to run the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF). There’s little doubt that this event is the biggest annual celebration of real ale, our national drink.

Despite the recession and pressures that our beloved beer and pubs market has faced over the past few years, GBBF still acts as a fantastic shop window for all that is great about real ales.

Sure, you may not find that the concrete floors and the ‘festival’ feel as corporate and well-dressed as some events, but GBBF is for the people and is very much about the product we all love.

With more than 800 British real ales on show it offers by far the biggest choice of any real ale festival. And like most other festivals this summer, you’ll keep your feet dry and mud-free.

In light of the Olympics it’s rather apt that we’re back at Olympia this year after six glorious years at Earls Court.

We’re still expecting tens of thousands of thirsty, sport-weary drinkers to join us over the five days — last year 60,000 people came through our doors. We’re expecting that we’ll get a lot more foreign visitors this year and we are determined to show them how unique and exciting British beer can be.

If you’re reading this I bet you are already aware of the benefits real ale can bring to your pub business.

Forget about the long-buried myths that real ale is a drink for, shall we say, the more mature man, it has truly become a drink for all, with women and younger people increasingly recognising its unique qualities.

Now is a great time for our national drink as it has become a leading light in the slow, painful decline of the UK beer market.

For you as a licensee, real ale is a key unique selling point to get people into your pub enjoying beer responsibly and sociably.

GBBF is a great way to see that effect in practice, so I look forward to seeing you at the trade-only session next Tuesday where you will meet lots of like-minded licensees, brewers and suppliers.

Finally, look out for the winners of the prestigious Champion Beer of Britain competition, which will be announced tomorrow afternoon (7 August).

Shortly after, as award-winning beers mean more customers, the annual battle to stock the winning beer will begin, so don’t get left behind!

  • Mike Benner is chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)

Related topics: Beer

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