OPINION: Let's shout about being real ale capital of world
Stop raising a pint Sheffield, saying cheers and beaming inwardly with pride.
This week a report confirmed what most of us in the city already suspected – we are the real ale capital of the world.
We should certainly drink to that but this is no time for celebration.
It simply is not enough.
Such a title means nothing if that just translates to you and me being able to enjoy the perfect pint in a great setting.
This is not a time for backslapping, it is a time for action.
What is Sheffield going to do to make the most of the accolade and use it to bring in tourists, investment and jobs?
You could be forgiven for having missed the most important message the Sheffield University report had for this city.
There is a ‘significant gap’ between the reality of how strong and vibrant the beer scene is in Sheffield, and the perception and promotion of it.
In a nutshell it is great, we know it is great but nobody else does.
The report states: “Sheffield doesn’t then shout about what a great destination it is. This is partly in the city’s nature – Sheffield people don’t brag.”
Spot on, we don’t, but it is about time we did.
Personally, I love the way we Sheffield folk mumble about amazing things and breeze through life making a difference without really asking for credit.
But what works as a personality trait does not work as a drive for economic change in a city.
So here is the challenge.
Let’s put some of this city’s best tourism brains together with our best brewers and pub landlords, maybe even over a pint.
Grab hold of this opportunity and really drive for new initiatives.
Nobody will do this for us if we don’t do it for ourselves and it really is too good a chance to let it slide away into the overflow tray.
Small, independent brewers can’t do this by themselves – but together they could become a force to be reckoned with internationally.
And they need backing from the council, universities, tourism bodies, CAMRA and the people of Sheffield.
If you are in a position to help, get in touch.
If you have an idea about how Sheffield can make the most out of being real ale capital of the world, let me know.
This is not about supporting one industry over others, it is about helping all firms within the city by seizing a moment to create an opportunity.
We have to use the things we are best at to really put Sheffield on the world map.
n Email [email protected]; call 0114 2521340; or write to Nancy Fielder, Editor, The Star, York Street, Sheffield, S1 1PU.
Why we’re the real ale capital of the world:
n Sheffield city region is the birthplace of the UK craft beer revolution
n The city has one brewery for every 23,991 people – 4.7 times more brewers per capita than Greater London
n On a typical day there are 400 different unique beers available in the city’s pubs
n The region’s breweries turn out more than 1,000 different beers each year