A new year means new beery opportunities. Anyone with an interest in beer should take the chance to meet fellow enthusiasts, hear about breweries and try some local brews at one of the British Beer Weeks this year. It is a fantastic way of finding out about a new destination or perhaps your hometown.

According to The Brewers of Europe, the UK is leading the way in the beer trade with 2,430 active breweries, well ahead of Germany and France. The value-added generated by beer is a whopping €8,686 million, of which the hospitality sector stands for more than 60 %. Beer tourism is no doubt a growing area with positive effects on the cities and wider economy.

New initiative British Beer Cities aims to promote Britain’s beer tourism and pulls together regional events and venues to share experience and best practice. In a statement, Dawn Leeder of Norwich City of Ale says; “Beer weeks aim to rejuvenate high streets and get people exploring interesting back streets. They take people round and about towns and cities, through doors of pubs they’ve never visited, sipping on beers they’ve not yet tried.”

First up this year is Sheffield Beer Week, which celebrates its 5th anniversary 11-17 March. The city-wide beer festival promotes Sheffield as a destination for beer lovers and showcases the local breweries, with opportunities to chat with the brewers at tap takeovers and meet the brewer events. Another great way of discovering the watering holes whilst seeing more of what Sheffield has to offer is to follow one of the recommended pub trails in the centre or further afield.

According to the Beer Report commissioned by the University of Sheffield, the city region has 57 active breweries. This translates to one brewery for every 23,991 people, which is 4.7 times more than London. The city is also one of the more diverse with around 400 different, unique beers available in its pubs on a typical day. Certainly, the old steel city has become beer city!

Jules Gray, Sheffield Beer Week Director, says in a recent press release; “Beer tourism is a crucial cog to Sheffield’s continued success and positive economic growth. The city is not only attracting engaged and inquisitive tourists to the area for beer, outdoor sports and creative arts but also new beer-focused businesses to locate here. The beer week really adds vibrancy to the city, boosts the local economy and keeps the high street buzzing with good beer chatter.”

Take the opportunity to discover one of the many beer cities in the UK this year:

• Sheffield Beer Week, 11 – 17 March
• Oxford Beer Week, 4 – 12 May
• Edinburgh Beer Week, May
• Norwich City of Ale, 23 May – 2 June
• Manchester Beer Week, June
• Nottingham Craft Beer Week, June
• York City of Ale, 29 June – 7 July
• Birmingham Beer Week, July
• Leeds Beer Week, August
• Brighton & Hove Beer Week, August/September
• Bristol Beer Week, September
• Tunbridge Wells Beer Weekend, September
• Cheltenham Beer Week, September
• Leicester Beer Week, September
• Stockport Beer Week, September

For more information about the British Beer Cities, see beercities.org.uk.

Author: Malin Norman

Photos: British Beer Cities & Malin Norman