Tom Newell of Butcombe Brewery advises breweries to open up their gates for Cask Ale Week and make the most of this national campaign.
Cask Ale Week runs from 24 September to 4 October in 2015 and Butcombe is encouraging other breweries to get involved. “There’s nothing to pay, you don’t have to be a member of anything; and you can do whatever you want,” says Tom. “As far as we’re concerned, it’s a no-brainer.”
Butcombe has been opening up the brewery to members of the public on a Saturday in September for the past 8 years.
“It started off as a way of showing gratitude to our village for its support. While it still is a thank you to the local community, it now sits under the Cask Ale Week banner and people flock from far and wide. It’s not just a brewery open day,” says Tom, “more a massive celebration of cask ale.
“It’s satisfying to see so many people enjoying Britain’s national drink. As a way of rewarding our loyal drinkers and encouraging new people to try our beers, it works perfectly. It’s definitely the best piece of PR activity we do each year.”
The non-stop brewery tours are, as he points out, an indicator of people’s thirst for knowledge. A new tour starts every 10 minutes throughout the four hour session – and still the queues build up.
“The fact is, brewing is a craft as well as a science. The process by which grain is harvested, malted, milled and mashed, and by which sugars in wort are turned into carbon dioxide and alcohol – is endlessly fascinating! Add to that the history, the traditions and the engineering – and the story only gets better!”
As every brewer in the country would tell you, interest in brewing and beer is at an all-time high. So, as Cask Ale Week initiator Paul Nunny says: “Opening up the brewery is an obvious way of getting more people engaged. It’s a fantastic opportunity for breweries to share their passion for brewing and beer. It’s a ‘win-win’- so why wouldn’t you?”