Since the end of lockdown, the MBCF team have been exploring options to bring you a festival in February 2022.
Sadly, with ongoing uncertainties due to the ongoing high rates of infection nationally (and particularly in and around Manchester), we must announce that Manchester Beer & Cider Festival will not return in early 2022.
With the festival presenting a significant financial risk in difficult times and being entirely run by volunteers (many of whom have full time jobs), quite simply, we feel we have run out of time to be able to successfully deliver the festival we would want to put on.
We’d like to thank all the volunteers who had continued to work towards putting on a festival, the breweries who had already committed to attend, the staff at Manchester Central who have held the door open and all the customers who were looking forward to the event.
While there may not be an MBCF22 to attend, the pubs and brewery taps of Manchester will still be here offering a year long Manchester Beer & Cider Festival to visitors to the city – remember #PubsMatter.
As 2020 played out, the MBCF team knew my July that a physical festival at the start of 2021 wasn’t going to happen. But we knew that we didn’t want to do nothing. And we knew that what we did had to be about the part of the beer and cider world hit hardest by the pandemic – our beloved pubs.
We held out hope that by January we’d be able to organise events in the pubs across the city to encourage customers to return. As the terribly conceived “substantial meal” requirements and curfews imposed on Manchester pubs morphed into Tier 3, all the amazing work our pubs had done over the summer to keep staff and customers safe was unjustifiably discarded. With lockdown looming, it became clear MBCF was going online.
On an early December zoom call, the #PubsMatter festival was born. A half-formed sketchy ‘roadmap’ (probably better than Monday’s, but still…) was conceived. But we needed the trust of five friends, five pubs that represented our city’s amazing pubs and would work with us to make it happen.
We asked for five different events that reflected the characters of the pubs and we asked for beers (and ciders) that represented what we will find on the bars of those pubs when we can return. The pubs and their partners delivered (literally!).
From chillin’ with tunes from the Devils Jukebox at The Smithfield to working out that Ginger Dish is an anagram of Shindigger at the Wigan Central Quiz, we saw the best of pubs – all be it from the end of a broadband line.
And you, their customers ordered the packs, came to the events and showed them that you might be being prevented from visiting them in person, but you still love them, you miss the conversation, miss the camaraderie.
Those who attended The Marble Arch After Hours debate and who listened to the brewers and publicans at other events heard that while pubs are down and breweries have had to adapt and diversify, they are still hanging on in there.
We’re not out of the woods. There’s yet more tough times and uncertainty ahead for all hospitality.
We need to maintain the support – let’s be clear, the financial support – for all our pubs.
On the evening of Super Saturday, we’ll be heading to the Northern Quarter where Blackjack Brewtap DJ kings The Devils Jukebox are shipping their decks to The Smithfield Tavern for a night of tunes and pints. The Smithfield Sessions will take place live on Zoom with a special high quality stream for those that want to crank the music up for a boogie at home.
In between the two hour long DJ sets planned, there will be an exclusive first look at Blackjack brewery’s brand new brewing facility which has been being installed in the brewery’s new home in the Green Quarter over the past six weeks. There’s video tasting notes on the Blackjack beers, a chance to find golden tickets under the labels of cans from guests Pictish Brewery while Runaway Brewery will be presenting a unique video on cooking with their beer.
To ensure your box of beers – including the launch of Marble’s newest Uppe Hele Natten Irish Whiskey Edition – arrives in time for the event on Wednesday 17th, orders for The Marble Arch After Hours must be in by midday on Friday 12th.
Also included in the box of 12 beers are two new offerings from Wander Beyond Brewing – La Adelita, a Mexican Cake Imperial Stout and Imperial Milkshake IPA Coral Connection.
Marble Arch After Hours will come to you live from the iconic pub, the original and now spiritual home of Marble Brewery. Both Marble and Wander Beyond’s head brewers, Joseph Ince and Dan de Becheval will be online to talk to you about the new beers, joined by Marble director Jan Rogers and Customer QA lead Mars Pascale.
Join them as they look to a future for both pub and brewery in a post COVID world – whenever that may be. Will drinkers and diners return to the pub? Will it be casks or cans rolling out the brewery gates? This will be your chance to listen to those at the coal face and put your questions to them.
Sorry – Sales for The Marble Arch After Hours have ended.
Tickets for Manchester Pubs Matter festival have been flying out.
The Welcome to The Darkside event by The Petersgate Tap and Thirst Class Ale has already sold out.
Demand for the other events has exceeded all expectations with our pubs’ partners adding extra stock to meet demand but time is running out to book your place.
Sales for Hop, Twist, and a Julie, the special event at the virtual Wigan Central end at Midnight on Monday 8th February. The award winning pub’s manager Jo will be your host where she’ll be joined by three of the pub’s favourite breweries – Wigan’s own Hophurst, Warrington’s Twisted Wheel and Neptune brewery – recently named as Merseyside’ top brewery by Rate Beer.
If this isn’t enough, it will be quiz night at the pub with four beer themed rounds of questions to test your knowledge.
There’ll be prizes for the winner and runners up including a copy of Pete Brown’s latest book “Beer by Design”, a bar tab to be used when Wigan Central opens, beer, tee-shirts and much more.
Our pubs are still suffering from enforced closure with inadequate financial support from Government. Please join CAMRA’s campaign for improved support for our pubs – visit the campaign page and ask your MP for support.