The headline is that we have chosen not to hold a festival of our own in 2021, as we typically would, towards the end of the year. Instead, we plan to organise and support vigorously a celebration of real ale and real cider that is based in pubs and clubs. Over the coming months, as the practicalities become clearer, we shall link with publicans, brewers, and drinkers to decide the timing, format, and finer details of this.

The committee have thought long and hard about this decision. We have weighed up the government’s intended timeline for vaccinations and attendant relieving of legal restrictions. Additionally, we have considered the views of our members, people in the county and further afield, and, of course, the needs of our pubs/clubs and breweries.

We have placed at the forefront of our minds that the last year has been simply horrendous for anyone who loves pubs, real ale, real cider, and clubs. Our pubs and clubs (and consequently breweries) have endured lockdowns, restricted operations, the patchy support offered by government and the sheer difficulty of keeping going and retaining hope. This ‘Covid reality’, which has come on top of a hard decade for the overall sector, has proven, of necessity, to be the main consideration.

Our main priority as a branch is to support our pubs, our clubs, and our breweries, in what we hope will be a summer and autumn of recovery. A celebration based in pubs and clubs best serves this priority.

If any members have ideas for what to include in our celebration, and/or wish to contribute, please let us know.