Yearly archives: 2013

Manchester Biggest & Best Ever

Manchester Velodrome
When CAMRA decided that it was time that the National Winter Ales Festival’s nine-year tenure in Manchester came to an end, there was some degree of outcry both from those volunteers who had pulled the festival together for many years and from the drinkers who had enjoyed the annual January festival.

Nine months on from the final event in Manchester, that decision by CAMRA may well have been the best thing that ever happened for festival goers in the region – without it, the Manchester Beer & Cider Festival would never have been conceived. The new festival takes the same slot in the January calendar (22nd – 25th January) and is shaping up to be Manchester’s biggest and best ever beer festival.

The biggest coup for the organisers was securing the amazing setting of Manchester Velodrome for the event – not the adjacent café used for the small warm up event in August – the actual Velodrome itself. As a building, it’s simply stunning to stand inside that track and marvel at the scale of the place – and that’s without any beer in it.

Set on the floor inside that steeply banked track will be the largest range of beers and ciders ever offered in Manchester. There will be well over 300 cask conditioned craft beers alongside a bar full of real ale in a bottle (drink in or take away). There’s no separate beer list for each day and no holding back of beers for a particular session – every beer that is ready for sale will be available from the first session until it is sold.

The cider and perry bar is expected to offer at least 75 different ciders and perries – all made from fresh apple or pear juice. If the best of British beers isn’t enough, then the ‘Bière sans Frontières’ bar will be importing the very best beers brewed for Germany’s Oktoberfest alongside Belgian, Dutch, Czech and American beers – far too many to mention.

Some of the most cutting edge breweries in the country including Marble Beers, Hawkshead, Liverpool Organic and Ilkley Brewery will be hosting their own bars at the festival. These will offer a larger range of their beers than the three main cask bars can accommodate. There will also be the chance to meet the brewers and other brewery staff on the bars.

In total there will be no fewer than 16 bars to visit. Around the track, some 1700 seats will be available from where visitors will be able to look over the festival and watch cyclists riding the track. The Great Britain Cycling Team have training sessions on the track twice a day which will continue throughout the festival alongside other clubs and taster sessions.

The festival kicks off at 4.30pm on Wednesday 22nd January and runs through until Saturday evening. The Velodrome is easily accessible via Manchester’s Metrolink tram network – its own Velopark station is served by trams every 12 minutes – with the 216 and other bus routes from Manchester even more frequent. CAMRA Members will be entitled to free entry all day Wednesday and Thursday with discounts on entry at all other times.

For all the latest news you can follow the festival on twitter on @mancbeerfest or at

Festival Charity 2014 – Henshaws

HenshawsThe festival charity for 2014 is Henshaws Society For Blind People.

Henshaws Society for Blind People is a specialist charity providing expert support, advice and training to anyone affected by sight loss. Their principal object is the relief of people who are blind or visually impaired through the provision of services, care, facilities, support, advice, education and training. They also work with people with other disabilities, and because sight loss and disability affects family, friends and colleagues, they work with them too.

Henshaws is one of the oldest charities in the UK, opening in Manchester in 1837. Throughout
their more than 170 years of history they’ve built a reputation for trust and expertise. Their services support children and babies, their families, young and older people by providing reassurance, practical support and in some cases simply companionship. They help hundreds of visually impaired and disabled people each year to develop the skills and independence they need to lead lives that are as full and independent as possible.

There are almost two million people with sight problems in the UK, with this number set to soar over the next 25 years due to an ageing population and increased prevalence of obesity and diabetes. In Greater Manchester alone there are 17,775 registered blind and partially sighted people – this is just the tip of the iceberg however, with current estimates that only one in six people with a visual impairment are registered as such. At a time when statutory services are being cut, Henshaws continue to offer a crucial lifeline to all those affected by sight loss within Greater Manchester and beyond.

Henshaws work throughout the North of England, with centres and communities in Manchester, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Merseyside and Newcastle. They also have an Arts & Crafts Centre and specialist college, a unique further education college for students aged 16-22. Each centre offers different services and programmes – but they all have a common goal: to enable the people who use our services to live an independent and fulfilling life.

Manchester Beer and Cider Festival are delighted to be supporting Henshaws and look forward to working with them to raise the profile of their work and raise funds to support their activities.



Manchester Beer and Cider Festival Expanded

We are pleased to announce that it has been decided to extend the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival 2014 across four days.

The festival will now open a day earlier than originally planned on Wednesday 22nd January 2014. Entry will be FREE to CAMRA members on the Wednesday. The festival will also open an hour earlier that planned on Saturday – we will now open at 11am on Saturday 25th January.

New opening hours are:

Wednesday 22nd January: 4.30pm – 10.30pm

Thursday 23rd January: Noon – 10.30pm

Friday 24th January: Noon – 10.30pm

Saturday 25th January: 11am – 7pm

Festival Charity Sought

The first Manchester Beer and Cider Festival, to be held at the National Cycling Centre’s iconic Velodrome, Manchester in January 2014 is offering one lucky charity the opportunity to associate themselves with the new event.

The festival is being organised by the same team who ran the National Winter Ales Festival (NWAF) in Manchester continuously from 2005 to 2013. During this time the festival had associations with various charities. The most recent, After Adoption, enjoyed a three-year association with the festival. During this time they managed to raise over £14,000 while also spreading the word about their aims and objectives. So successful were they that some local families have adopted children thanks to After Adoption being the NWAF festival charity.

Festival organiser Graham Donning & sponsorship manager Jim Flynn present After Adoption's Chief Fundraiser Sophie Bell with a cheque for £14,000

Festival organiser Graham Donning & sponsorship manager Jim Flynn present After Adoption’s Chief Fundraiser Sophie Bell with a cheque for £14,000

The organising committee is now inviting applications from charities who wish to benefit from a similar association for the 2014 and 2015 events.The chosen charity will be offered a free promotional stall and free rein to collect loose change from customers at the event which is expected to attract in excess of 8000 visitors. They will also be promoted on the festival website, posters, flyers and in the festival programme.

At such a large event, there are plentiful other opportunities for fundraising which could also add value to the festival customer experience. Those organisations submitting innovative ideas for additional activities will be looked upon favourably by the organisers.

Although charities are encouraged to seek their own sponsors, if required, the festival sponsorship manager will assist the chosen charity in obtaining a sponsor for their time at the festival.

Charities are invited to contact the festival organiser outlining their charitable aims, the number of volunteers they would expect to assist the festival, examples of similar events they have participated in and suggestions for activities which they would be willing to run. Applications should be sent to by no later than May 5th 2013.

For further information, contact festival organiser Graham Donning on organiser (at) or by phone on 07961 886696