Egremont beer festival makes a return for second year

By Rachael Grealish

EGREMONT rugby club has found the winning formula with its annual beer and music festival – and it returns again in June.

The event, which brings together ales from around the UK with the best in local live music, takes place at Egremont Rugby Union Club, on the weekend of June 17 and 18.

The event has grown in size each year since it was launched, leading to Egremont Rugby Union Club being named CAMRA’s Cumbria North West Club of the Year.

There will be more than 25 real ales and ciders on offer at a specially-erected bar in the club’s small function room – the main club bar will also be open so that those who aren’t real ale lovers can still enjoy the music.

Karl Connor, organiser of the festival, said: “Winning that award is such a tremendous boost for us – it is a real fillip to know that you are doing something right and that people recognise you for it. Our stewardess and bar staff work really hard, alongside a team of volunteers from the club membership, in order to put the festival on each year and maintain the standards of how we keep our beer all year round. Five or six years ago our club didn’t sell any real ale at all, and a couple of us who were club members and also real ale lovers lobbied to introduce it. There was a reluctance, but when we did, it sold really well, and we’ve never looked back. We always have at least one on, and usually two during the rugby season.”

Once beer had been established on the bar, club members pushed for something more.

Karl added: “Several of us at the club who like real ale knew we had always had to travel out of town to enjoy a beer festival, so we decided to put our own on, and see what the response was. The local CAMRA branch, and Bob Groat in particular, were really helpful, offering us advice on how to run a festival, loaning us equipment and teaching us how to make sure we serve beer in perfect condition. They’ve always really supported us, while leaving us enough space to do our own thing. Last year’s festival was fantastic, but we have made a few tweaks and improvements this year so that we can grow it and make it even more successful.”

As with in 2015 there will be live music on both evening and this year organisers have introduced camping – including 24-hour shower and toilet facilities in the changing rooms.

The Egremont RUFC Real Ale Festival will take place on the weekend of June 17 and 18.

Entry is free at all times for CAMRA members.

For tickets or information about camping phone 07871024686