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For Immediate Release - 4th January 2011

CAMRA Winchester Real Ale and Cider Festival returns to Winchester's Historic Guildhall after 25 years away

Following it's recent £3.2 million renovation the historic Guildhall welcomes the return of the Campaign for Real Ale's (CAMRA) spring festival to celebrate craft brewing in the heart of Hampshire. The Southern Hampshire Branch of CAMRA have been working with the guildhall to bring the festival back after a break of 25 years to showcase over 100 real ales, ciders and perries and some of the best local food and entertainment.

Many of the beers featured will be from the eleven regional and micro breweries now in operation in Hampshire including some local and national award winners. It will provide a great opportunity for the first timer to sample the variety of real ales and cider and to meet craft brewers and producers of the trade. Over the last year 78 new breweries have opened across the UK bringing the total to 767, which is four times as many as when the consumer group CAMRA was established in March 1971. This March CAMRA celebrates 40 years of campaigning for real ale and better run pubs.

Despite being dominated by carbonated beers such as lager, last year cask ale outperformed the rest of the beer market for the third year running, increasing its share and growing it's market by 5% despite an overall decline in the total UK beer market. It's encouraging that more than 8.6 million people now drink cask beer which is about one in every six pints sold*. CAMRA festivals such as these give not just regulars but newcomers an opportunity to find out more and sample the massive variety and quality of real ale and cider with friends and good food at a well organised local event.

Entertainment will also feature across the four sessions of the festival and includes; Polly and the Billets Doux (Friday evening), The Winchester Morris Men (Saturday afternoon) and playing the people's favourites from the indie/brit pop era and the 60's and 70's, The Hattie Jacques' Playlist (Saturday evening). Food will include the national favourites; hog roast, Barbeque, pies and curries. All of which will be provided by the Hampshire Fare members; Upton's of Bassett and Winchester's Bangkok Brasserie and Bengal Sage. For the parents with young families, Saturday afternoon's session will coincide with free children's entertainment in the Eighteen71 café in the newly refurbished ground floor and reception area. Entry to the festival areas however is strictly 18 and over and will be by ticket only.

Festival Organiser, David Mackie added, 'there's undoubtedly great interest in the provenance of food and drink and in particular that which is part of our national heritage, why not challenge us to find something that suits your taste?'

Notes to editors

* = According to the Cask Report, Britain's National Drink, 2010-2011, published in September 2010.

This event is organised by the South Hants Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and is sponsored by; The Flowerpots Brewery, Bowman Ales and Fullers Smith and Turner plc.

CAMRA campaigns for real ale, real pubs and consumer rights. We are an independent, voluntary organisation with over 100,000 members and have been described as the most successful consumer group in Europe. CAMRA promotes good-quality real ale and pubs, as well as acting as the consumer's champion in relation to the UK and European beer and drinks industry. We aim to:

  • Protect and improve consumer rights
  • Promote quality, choice and value for money
  • Support the public house as a focus of community life
  • Campaign for greater appreciation of traditional beers, ciders and perries as part of our national heritage and culture
  • Seek improvements in all licensed premises and throughout the brewing industry

CAMRA is financed through membership subscriptions, sales of products, and from the proceeds of beer festivals.

For Further Information

David Mackie
Press & Publicity Coordinator and Festival Organiser (Winchester 2011)
CAMRA Southern Hampshire Branch
023 8061 1998 / 07905 315614 /