Best of British

It’s expected that this year’s Great British Beer Festival will see more than 64,000 visitors pour through the doors at London’s Earls Court. Around 500 real ales and more than 100 ciders and perries will be on show over five days, together with a range of foreign beers from countries including Belgium, Germany, the Czech Republic and the US.

Camra says it has ordered in 50% more beer from the US for 2010 to cater for the increase in demand from UK consumers for US craft beers.

The festival will also have a bar dedicated to Real Ale in a Bottle, featuring more than 80 bottle-conditioned beers.

The RAIB campaign was set up by Camra five years ago and, according to spokesman Jon Howard, it works primarily as an accreditation scheme.

“Camra offers its accreditation logo to help brewers promote their bottled brands in the off-trade,” he says.

“We offer promotional One to Try neck tags, which help increase the visibility of brands on the supermarket shelf. Brewers have fed back the benefits of using this accreditation material, and more than 160 breweries have signed up.” He says around 1,300 bottle-conditioned beers are currently on the market, compared with only five in regular production when Camra was founded in 1971.

Tutored tastings?Aside from the brewery bars, 12 main bars will be divided into counties, with each named after a military hero, as the designated GBBF charity

for this year is the Royal British Legion.

August 3 will see the Champion Beer of Britain announced.

Experts Roger Protz, Melissa Cole, Jeff Evans and Christine Cryne will be holding tutored tastings, and there will also be a Meet the Brewer session hosted by the Society of Independent Brewers. For details on the tutored tastings see

Neil Jardine, Greene King’s take-home and export director, says: “The bottled ale category continues to thrive and attract more loyal shoppers, outperforming lager, spirits and wine growth.

“Brewers are continuing to invest in excellent beers with great packaging; providing formats and beer styles to attract new audiences as well as consistent, quality beers that consumers have enjoyed for years.

“The GBBF provides the perfect opportunity to discover the joys of our national drink and is a celebration of the best of British beer.”????258