This September Cheltenham will become the first town (as opposed to city) in the UK to hold a dedicated ‘Beer Week’. Cheltenham Beer Week (CBW) will be a collection of events held across a ten-day period from 16th to 25th September. Its purpose is simple – to celebrate beer, and the booming brewing industry and pub culture of this great town.
The event is free of all ties or affiliation with any group, other than of course beer drinkers. CBW aims to encourage involvement from individuals and businesses who are interested in working with, or learning more about, the local beer scene and to help develop a strong communal spirit that will secure and elevate Cheltenham’s position as a beer destination.
CBW is being co-ordinated by Leigh Norwood, owner of specialist beer retailer Favourite Beers, together with a group of local brewers, publicans and beer drinkers. The intention is to get all types of venues in and around Cheltenham to join in the venture and contribute to the official programme of CBW themed events.
“We already have 17 venues signed up including pubs, clubs, bars, shops and restaurants and we hope for many more,” said Leigh Norwood. “Events already being planned are mini-beer festivals, meet the brewer evenings, tap takeovers, brewery tours, tutored tasting sessions, beer walks, beer and food matching and much more. The local breweries will be working together to create at least one collaborative brew to be served during the week.
“We believe that the time is right for Cheltenham to launch a Beer Week. We have a nexus of beer expertise that is exceptional for a town of this size. Cheltenham has the current CAMRA National Pub of the Year, a former National Club of the Year and a former winner of the National Beer and Cider Retailer awards, among many other experts in the town.
Two new breweries have opened recently, bringing the total to five. New beer ventures are opening frequently, including a new Bierkeller. We want CBW to be a festival, a carnival, with events for experienced beer drinkers and novices alike; anyone who is keen to learn about beer in all its forms from around the world.”
All venues that serve beer (in whatever format) in and around the town are invited to apply to participate in CBW, providing they meet CBW’s core values, including responsible drinking. In order to ensure that the event is engaging, balanced and focused, the co-ordinators have established a set of criteria for inclusion in the week.
Venues will be expected to host at least two events during CBW – one of which must be held midweek (Monday-Thursday). All events must be unique for the venue; they cannot include normal weekly events as part of beer week unless they are specifically designed to fit in with CBW – e.g. a weekly pub quiz could be run to be about beer!