• Unique not-for-profit beer festival moves to Manchester Central in 2020

Unique not-for-profit beer festival moves to Manchester Central in 2020

2 August 2019 by Neil Sowerby

TICKETS are on sale from Friday, August 2, for the second Friends & Family & Beer, which is moving to a new, larger venue for 2020 – Manchester Central.

Licensing issues briefly threatened the inaugural festival in Upper Campfield Market but this unique, world-class celebration of independent beer, hosted by Cloudwater Brew Co, was a triumph in the end and the 2020 upgrade promises to build on that.

The not-for-profit festival will showcase a huge selection of the best craft breweries from around the world on February 21 and 22.

In its first year, it welcomed almost 3,000 beer lovers from around the world, giving them access to 327 beers from 64 breweries hailing from the UK, Europe and North America. 

It also raised £20,000 that will be split equally between three charities working to alleviate the effects of poverty and homelessness in Greater Manchester – Coffee4Craig, the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity, and Mustard Tree.

Beer is only part of the offerings at Friends & Family & Beer. Attendees will also be given access to a programme of surrounding content, including exhibitions, talks, discussions, seminars and music. There will also be a selection of food and drink to buy from a range of the region’s best independent food traders and producers.

Next year’s festival will encompass three sessions – one on Friday February 21, running from 6pm to 10.30pm, and two on Saturday February 22, 11am to 3.30pm and 5pm to 9.30pm. Session tickets cost £60, which will include entrance, a souvenir festival glass, the ability to claim sample pours from all of the breweries in attendance, and access to all of the supporting content.

Cloudwater founder and director Paul Jones said: “Friends & Family & Beer is a celebration of the community of brewers and beer lovers, who share a love for making and enjoying some of the best beers in the world. The buzz we all felt during our first festival was incredible – a testament to the passion we all share for relaxing in great company.

“The ethos that drives our brewing community is one founded on a deep love for better experiences. This is why it’s so important for the festival to be operated on a not-for-profit basis. 

“We want to ensure it has a positive impact on not just the people that enjoy the wonderful atmosphere at the festival, but also on our home city – by bringing visitors into Manchester, shining a light on the city’s beer and food scene, and by supporting good causes. So we’re absolutely delighted to be able to donate £20,000 to three organisations working hard to support people facing testing, and desperate times through tackling the causes and effects of homelessness and poverty.”