Changes to this year’s East Anglian Beer and Cider Festival prove a hit
Changes to “invigorate” the 26th East Anglian Beer and Cider Festival in Bury St Edmunds seem to have paid off, its organiser has said.
The event, organised by the West Suffolk and Borders branch of The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), was held at the Apex from Wednesday to Saturday. It offered 120 different beers and more than 20 ciders and was enjoyed by thousands of people.
While still offering the opportunity to try local ales from across East Anglia, this year the range was expanded to include beers from across Britain, as chosen by the national organisation of CAMRA.
Also new for this year was a range of bottled beers from around the world, provided by Beautiful Beers in Bury St Edmunds, and the ciders were also displayed in their own area.
The festival raises money for charity, and this year’s beneficiaries are the Suffolk Young People’s Theatre and Search and Rescue Dogs (Anglia).
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Martin Bate, chairman of Camra’s West Suffolk branch, said it had been a “good year,” adding it was possible they have had more festival-goers than last year.
In the first three days about 2,200 people came along, he said, adding: “I’m quietly confident we are not going to make a loss and may make more than last year.”
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He said profits had gradually been going down so a few changes were made this year to “invigorate” the event.
“We have had lots of positive feedback. Lots of people have been saying good things. People have said ‘I did think it was getting boring, but now there’s a wider range I have come back again’.”
He said the ciders were particularly popular with the American service personnel in the area, adding a bus load had arrived from RAF Lakenheath on Saturday.
Last year’s event raised £3,000, which was split equally between Riding for the Disabled and Citizens Advice Suffolk West.
Mr Bate said: “We do this festival for charity. We cover our costs and do a 50/50 split between Camra and the charities.”
A Camra spokesman said: “Camra have always promoted real ale and have been instrumental in lobbying Parliament to reduce the tax on beer. An emphasis is on helping people to keep their local pubs open where communities can meet, and also to encourage responsible drinking for all ages.”