Delegates flock to city for return beer conference

Thousands of beer-lovers attend Beer X festival in Sheffield
Thousands of beer-lovers attend Beer X festival in Sheffield

The largest conference and beer festival for brewers and retailers in the UK is to return to Sheffield next year.

Six hundred delegates of the Society of Independent Brewers gathered at Ponds Forge over four days last March to discuss the state of the industry - with an allied three day beer festival open to the public.

Now BeerX is back in Sheffield from March 11 to 15 next year at a different venue, iceSheffield in Coleridge Road, Attercliffe.

“The overwhelming success of 2013′s inaugural event at Ponds Forge has demanded a move of venue to the considerably larger complex at iceSheffield,” said a SIBA spokesperson. It’s another chance for brewers, suppliers, licensees and beer lovers to mingle in what is claimed to be the ‘beer capital of the UK’ - a reputation that will be tested next month when members of the Campaign for Real Ale hold their annual beer survey.

It will also be another boost for local hotels and the rest of the city’s hospitality industry.

Alex Buchanan, who chairs the Midlands branch of SIBA and is marketing manager for Thornbridge Brewery, near Bakewell, said: “It’s important for Sheffield, filling hotel rooms.”

He added: “It is exciting that it is coming back to Sheffield, building on a successful event last year. There was some noise about it being taken elsewhere.

“We got some fantastic feedback last time from delegates and other visitors, and we want to build on that. There will be another beer festival, but first and foremost it is a conference.”

The event embraces the SIBA annual general meeting, a trade show, national brewing competition, business awards, seminars and speakers. The festival serves keg as well as cask and bottled beers, and this year included live music from local bands.

n The Steel City Beer and Cider Festival is being held again at Ponds Forge, from October 23 to 26. Now in its 39th year, it has moved indoors after spells under canvas. This year’s theme will be a celebration of 100 years of stainless steel production in Sheffield.

n Kelham Island Tavern in Russell Street - twice Camra’s national pub of the year, holds a beer and cider festival from today (Thursday) to Sunday.

n Conference boost: Page 8