Grantham CAMRA and St Wulfram’s Church have combined to produce a bigger and better beer festival.
Both sides have welcomed the move, saying it will bring the beer capabilities of CAMRA together with the ability to hold the popular festival in the large venue.
Fr Stuart Cradduck, rector of St Wulfram’s, said the two parties have worked together for several years and it was always on the cards they would hold a joint event. Having the festival in the church provided a better town centre location, which attracts more people.
The October event is a major fund-raiser for the church, with last year’s event raising more than £10,000, allowing the church to “clear our deficit” for 2017.
This year, the profit will be shared between the church and CAMRA, but the church rector doubted as much profit would be made as the event will have to invest in new glasses and other equipment.
Fr Stuart said: “I am really looking forward to the festival. There will be 60 beers, 30 ciders and gins. It’s an event that encompasses everybody, from young and old, to their dogs. There hasn’t been any bad behaviour at all. People respect the church venue, along with everything else we are doing this year.”
Grantham CAMRA chairman Neville Lomas said CAMRA was invited to use the church, which led to the joint-venture and will involve sharing cost as well as any surplus.
Mr Lomas said: “For the past two years, CAMRA has helped the church when they have operated their own festival. They have come to us and said can we use your expertise. We are happy to do it. There’s no reason why we should not be as successful going forward as in the past.”
Mr Lomas said the CAMRA festival is usually in August but having it in the church in October gives more time to organise and make it a greater success, with his group keen to help the church.
This year, there will be 60 beers instead of 50. There will be a new wine bar introduced and “more cider than ever”. There will also be mead and the gin bar, introduced last year, also returns.
“Last year we had young ladies who came with their partners or by themselves requesting a wine bar. When you have customers you have got to listen to them. You are foolish not to.”
The beer festival is set for October 11 to 13, though Mr Lomas added details have still to be arranged for the food.