2019 Beer Festival – Thanks


Well, the Calderdale Beer and Cider Festival is over for another year, but we’ll be back: bigger and better than ever in 2020.

We think we’ve done rather well as we sold out and had to close the festival 1.5 hours early as we’d run out of beer! (The team did try to sell the Joint Festival Organisers but unfortunately there were no takers). All the items on the charity stall also sold and in total we have managed to raise over £1,000 for the Calderdale Industrial Museum. Thanks goes to all the breweries for donating a wide-range of items to the charity stall, to customers for donating unused beer tokens and glass refund money, to Steve Francis of Elland Brewery for suggesting a charity donation from the sale of Nettle Thrasher and to everyone who contributed to the festival charity in whatever form. Thanks also to the members of the Calderdale Industrial Museum for staffing the stall and for assisting us during set up.

Our appreciation goes to the members of the Halifax and Calderdale CAMRA Branch for staffing the festival and particular thanks goes to the members of other branches who volunteered their services. Thanks also, of course, to members of West Riding SPBW who volunteered to work (and attended the festival in large numbers as drinkers). Good one folks, we wouldn’t have been able to run the festival without you.

Thanks also to Jamie Horsley for letting us use the Viaduct Theatre and for his support throughout, to the team of cleaners, bar staff and other venue workers who provided their assistance and to Foras Bars Ltd for providing the food.

Our appreciation as always goes to the many pubs, local breweries, companies and individuals who support us by sponsoring our polo shirts, advertise in our programme, sponsor casks and beer tokens and to Bingley Brewery, Elland Brewery, Nightjar Brew Co, Stod Fold Brewing Company and Vocation Brewery who donated casks to our festival. A special thanks goes to Karl Preace of Karl’s Kit Bag for producing our excellent staff polo shirts and to Esma O’Neill of Sowerby Bridge Simprint for working tirelessly on our programme, meeting our demanding deadline and producing such a high quality final product.

Thank you to all those who attended the Talks and Tastings on Saturday 28th September and we are indebted to our guest speakers and tasting session leaders. For a second year running this addition to the festival proved to be a tremendous success.

A particular thanks goes to the brewers who supported the festival by supplying high quality ales and who donated valuable items to our charity stall and to our team of wooden caskers who went to incredible lengths, in many cases, to source and prepare wooden casks and brew unusual and ‘one off’ ales for everyone to enjoy.

Last, but not least, we would like to thank all the customers who attended the festival and helped us to make the 2019 Calderdale Beer and Cider Festival a tremendous success. Thanks to members of other West Riding Branches and our colleagues in Lancashire for attending and thanks also to the people who were prepared to travel incredibly long distances from all other parts of the UK to attend, and from the USA. We hope you all enjoyed the festival and will return next year. Why not bring more of your friends with you in 2020 as we don’t want anyone to miss out?

Thanks also to all the customers who completed Beer of the Festival Voting Forms and Customer Feedback Forms. These are critical as we love to acknowledge brewers for brewing brilliant ales and feel that customers should have a say in how the festival is run. The responses on Customer Feedback Forms are taken very seriously and we hope to address any concerns you had and build them into our planning next year. We bill ourselves as the ‘Friendly Festival’, but also feel that we are the ‘Listening Festival’.

It was always going to be a challenge moving venue, particularly since our new venue was markedly different to our old venue in Hebden Bridge, but we were reassured by the customer feedback we received. Here is a simplified version of this feedback (including results of everyone who expressed a preference).

  1. Beer and Cider Selection = 90.44% Excellent or good (figure slightly reduced by the reduced choice on Saturday)
  2. Food Selection = 57.53% Excellent or good
  3. Opinions re the venue = 76.64% Excellent or good
  4. Facilities at the festival = 76.47% Excellent or good
  5. Beer prices = 92.65% thought the prices were about right
  6. Would you like entertainment? – NO = 80.16%
  7. Although specific questions weren’t asked, there was also very positive feedback on the programme and other aspects of the festival

The above gives a brief feedback on the positives, but please note that all suggestions for improvements and complaints have been noted and we will try to address as many issues as possible.

We would encourage all customers to support the other West Yorkshire beer festivals in Bradford and Leeds. CAMRA Halifax and Calderdale will be supporting these festivals and it would be great to see a massively increased attendance at Leeds Beer Festival.

The Pennines might be a small physical barrier, but we’ll also be supporting our colleagues in Lancashire as well as other parts of the UK.


John Hartley (Joint Festival Organiser) and all members of the Calderdale Beer and Cider Festival Steering Group.