Paul Jones, director and founder of Cloudwater Brew Co
A host of the best breweries from across the world will descend on Manchester in March for a new, not-for-profit beer festival.
Friends & Family & Beer is organised by Cloudwater Brew Co and will showcase 59 breweries from the UK, Europe and North America. Among them are a number of breweries thought to be leaders in the global field, including Hill Farmstead, considered by many to be the world’s best independent brewery.
The main brewery list was completed following the additions of Berlin’s Fuerst Wiacek and Gothenberg’s Stigbergets last week. But more announcements are still planned in the New Year, with an extra ‘forerunners’ category set to celebrate breweries who helped lay the foundations for today’s thriving independent scene.
Friends & Family & Beer will also offer food from a selection of the region’s best street food traders, small-batch soft drinks, and coffee.
This unique festival takes place at Upper Campfield Market, in central Manchester, on Friday and Saturday, March 1 and 2, with two four-and-a-half hour sessions each day. An all-inclusive ticket system means attendees pay £60 for entry to each session but get all their beer included, as well as a souvenir glass.
Drinkers can enjoy unlimited pours — varying in size from 70ml to 190ml depending on the beer — of rare and unusual beers from across the world, many of which will be pouring in the UK for the first time.
All of the beer will be transported and stored cold, right up until the point of serve, so that freshness is guaranteed and breweries are able to present their prized creations at their best.
All profits from ticket sales will be donated to charity, with an announcement on the festival’s chosen cause due to be made in January.
The festival will also form part of a larger programme of fringe events involving attending breweries, which will take place at venues across Greater Manchester from Monday, February 25, until Sunday, March 3.
‘A celebration of everything we hold dear’
Paul Jones, director and founder of Cloudwater Brew Co, said: “When planning our festival, we didn’t just want to simply shoot for a list of ‘who’s who’ in the modern beer scene.
“We’ve invited breweries specifically because we consider them our family — we have worked with them in the past, developed strong personal relationships through problem solving, through time spent in each other’s breweries, over beers, and have built relationships that transcend our love of beer, and our passion for our communities.
“We’re aiming to create a celebration of everything we hold dear, with the independent values we share at its core. We are incredibly excited to present these talented people, and their delicious beer, in our home town, and will be taking every step possible to ensure we show them all in the best possible light.
“But we also wanted to make sure this festival had a positive impact on our surrounding community and that’s why we decided to make it a not-for-profit event. Working with our friends, we hope to provide real benefit to those in our community with inadequate shelter or opportunity.”