Tickets on sale today for Manchester Beer & Cider Festival

Any cool glass of beer is attractive in the current heatwave, but planning is well underway for the best beers and ciders to be showcased next winter.

And eager ale aficionados can snap up guaranteed admission to the North’s biggest celebration of traditional and modern beers and ciders. Advance tickets for all days of the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival go on sale from Wednesday 1st August. But for real beer connoisseurs, organisers have planned something special…

A new ticket is sure to entice drinkers attracted by the huge range of beers and ciders sourced by experts from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). The ‘MBCF Experience’ ticket will be inclusive with a specially-commissioned unique glass, festival guide and small pour samples of all draught beers and ciders during your visit. With previous festival beers ranging in strength from 2.9% to 11.5%, many will find the traditional half or pint measures simply too much. So for all those who wished they’d been able to taste more, this could be the answer!

Manchester’s position as the cask beer capital of Britain pulls in visitors from all over the world. Advance tickets have always been popular in Germany, Spain and the USA, but last year attracted beer lovers from as far away as Argentina and Japan!  They pour through the doors to sample some of the very best beers and ciders from the UK’s booming brewing and cider making industries. Foreign beer fans are well catered for with an excellent selection from Europe and further afield. There was a 14% increase in attendance in 2018 to 15,478; and those drinkers obliged by downing almost 65,000 pints.

Organised by CAMRA’s Greater Manchester branches, the 2018 festival featured over 750 different beers and ciders, and it is expected the huge choice will continue in 2019.

With the boom in brewing, organisers have carefully analysed festival drinking habits. They promise the return of brewery bar favourites, alongside the best of traditional and modern beer styles. The Hundred Club bar showcased traditional family brewers with a minimum of a century’s experience, and this will be back. Last January’s introduction of the Little Ireland bar saw beers from both sides of the border sell out. Expect an increase in these specially imported beers (and presumably an enlarged name).

And one new bar is still under wraps, with discussions well advanced to bring a unique bar to Manchester for the first time. On this, organisers are tight-lipped – although they hope drinkers won’t be!

One change the festival hopes won’t be noticed by visitors is a change of organiser. Adrian Saunders has stepped up from the organising team to take the lead. He said: “We’ve listened to customer feedback every year, adjusting things to improve the festival experience. Manchester Central is a great home for the festival with vast numbers of seats and plenty of space to move around and meet friends.

“The MBCF Experience ticket is just the latest change, and we trust it will be the answer to those frustrated they haven’t been able to sample more of our many delights. We’re proud to offer the best of traditional brewing, alongside some of the modern beer styles, many of which were pioneered by Manchester brewers.

“There’s no increase in our entry prices. We’re open to the public for three days, but CAMRA members get the perk of a free-to-enter preview evening. The single entry price each day including refundable glass hire minimises queues inside and outside the venue. Of course, buying tickets in advance is the best way of ensuring drinkers get in to sample what will be a stunning selection of ales.”

With so many visitors from outside the region attracted to the festival, purchasing advance tickets has increased steadily each year. Although a number of tickets were retained for sale on the door in 2018, organisers are reviewing whether the popular sessions – Friday and Saturday – will have to become  all ticket. Their message is that drinkers should not delay.

Tickets for the event are on sale from 9am on Tuesday 1st August via the festival website,  www.mancbeerfest.uk