By Pint Sides
Posted: 13/05/2013

Following on from the highly successful Coventry Beer Festival last April, Rugby is coming up June 14th/15th followed by Nuneaton & Bedworth's on June 21st/22nd.

The aim of a beer festival is the same as it was when CAMRA was formed over 40 years ago - namely to promote the sale of real ales and ciders to the uninitiated and demonstrate the wide variety of styles and tastes available. A poll of the local population would probably show that most people in Coventry, Nuneaton, Bedworth and Rugby don't know what great breweries are to be found in their own locality!

Beer festivals don't happen overnight, planning usually starts as soon as the last one is finished with inquests to see what went right or wrong, try to learn lessons each year and consider rebooking or looking for new venues.

CAMRA is a non-profit organisation and any money raised goes back toward campaigning and if regular losses were made at festivals membership fees would have to be raised considerably.

It is not just a case of ordering a few dozen barrels of beer and selling it to the public as there are a many other things to consider. Getting the balance right between the locally sourced beers and nationwide ones from wholesale suppliers is very important. There is such a wide variety of styles and breweries available which makes it quite a big task (see Graham Paine's article elsewhere in this magazine). The beers and ciders may require cooling equipment, stillage and ancillaries such as taps etc. Glasses have to be ordered, and if there is a theme a motif has to be designed and printed. The beers need to be listed in a programme together with any entertainment, and health and safety regulations have to be closely followed and insurance organised to protect the public.

Finally on the day of the festival, staffing is provided by CAMRA members who are unpaid volunteers that are kept going with the odd free beer, and the promise of perhaps a coach trip later in the year. Help from members is always welcome and if you wish to volunteer for the Rugby festival to be held at Thornfield Bowling Club or the Nuneaton & Bedworth festival at the Co-operative Sports Club, Nuneaton, please contact the relevant branch. If you can't manage that please turn up and support the festival by drinking