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How to host your own beer festival – advice from The White Horse

Hosting a beer festival at your pubs is a great way to attract more customers to your pub. Here is some advice from a Charles Wells licensee, Richard Binks at the White Horse in Tilbrook.

Richard staged his 5th beer festival over the three days of the Spring Bank Holiday weekend and it was his most successful yet.

“On Sunday we did a week’s business in a day, on Saturday we did an average week’s trade and on the Monday we did four times what we would normally do on a reasonable day,” said Richard.

“We have a committee which includes a music guy, a charity guy and a sound guy who are all important to the overall planning.”

It’s become a massive event for the pub spread across two marquees, and featuring everything from Morris Dancers, majorettes and face painters, to four live bands every day.

Richard’s expert tips are

  • Ensure you have a good offering with a great selection of beers, ciders and fresh food. “It’s got to feel like a festival with lots of choice,” he said. “It’s not a festival with 10 beers – we had 24 or so different ales.”
  • The event won’t work without live entertainment – it needs ‘another arm’ to it he said.
  • Operationallly, you need to be very slick, so don’t underestimate.”If the weather is good, expect 200 – but remember you could get an awful lot more”
  • Bear in mind that not everyone is a nice person, you will need some kind of crowd monitoring and control
  • To pull it off successfully you need to make sure you plan to have the event undercover – plan for  a wet day but hope for a dry one.
  • Align your event with a charity, preferably a local one – this generates a feel good factor and opens up a major opportunity for loads of great, positive PR

Richard is committed to his yearly festival and has invested in his own racking equipment which he can rent out to other licensees or you should look locally for another source of racking.