That Warm Glow

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Hello again!

I wasn’t planning 2 posts this month, but I’ve been a little overwhelmed with the sheer numbers of people and small local businesses who have wanted to get involved and have contacted to sponsor beers. And take out ads in the programme.

So I just wanted to emphasise sponsorship. What it does. What it means. And what it gets you.

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So. What it does. And what it means. Because they kind of go together.

Firstly, it means that I (Jim) don’t panic when something needs paying for in advance – as so many things do. Like T-shirts for the launch party which need ordering. Like beers and other drinks which sometimes need paying for in advance. The ability to do this makes a HUGE difference to m my stress levels!

Secondly, it brings a warm glow to everyone involved at the event – both in planning and art the event itself – that people want to put their money into this. It validates what we do. It means that YOU have faith in what we do and have done. And that really matters to us all.

Finally. I know that it means an awful lot to our charity Start Inspiring Minds. I saw Bernadette’s face when I told her the donation amount last year. She expected £500. Last year, the sponsorship amount ALONE was over 5 times that. And ALL of that money goes to them,

The final donation was £11000. And she rocked so far back in her seat that I really thought she was going to fall off. That money that you donate matters. It really makes a difference.

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What it gets you.

Firstly, 2 tickets for each beer paid for. For the session of your choice. Reserved. And this matters. Because if the reaction of people I meet and talk to is any guide, these tickets won’t last long after 25th August. People told me in advance of last year that we’d sell out quickly. And I didn’t believe them. And I was seriously shocked when they did. (And those who know me know that I don’t lie) Honestly, I’m not intending to hype this. But the levels of anticipation and excitement genuinely surprise me.

It also gets you your glasses. And your first £10 tokens (per sponsorship).

I can’t get out of my head the number of times people got scanned in last year and immediately asked to buy tokens. And the look of surprise when they were told that their ticket price included £10!

I’ve been told that this sponsorship is undervalued. The implication being that I could charge more. And raise more. But it matters more to all of us involved that it’s affordable. That it gives lots of people – and small businesses – the chance to help us. If I’m honest (which I like to think...) the figures are all guesswork. £65 for a beer, £50 for a full page in the programme. Total guesswork. But it feels right. And this entire event is built on the way things feel.

I said earlier that we raised £2500 via sponsorship last year. And that was brilliant. So far, this year, the amount pledged in sponsorship is almost double that. And that makes my jaw drop. Seriously. And most of that has already been donated.

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And now, the pitch! You KNEW it was coming, right?

There is still a chance to get involved. We have almost half of the beers still available. And there is always room for another ad or two in the programme.

To sponsor a beer costs £65. Sponsoring two for £130 gets your name on a 3rd one. And each £65 gets you the things above.

To take a page ad in the pretty programme costs £50. If added to a beer it’s £105.

Click here if you’re interested. For reasons of sanity (mine) and because I’m not holding tickets back, opportunities for sponsorship will cease on 24th August.

It would be lovely to hear from you!

Back next week (8pm 18th July precisely!) with the post peddling tickets for the ticket launch party at The Brink on 25th August.

Be kind to one another.

Jim x

#ISBF6 - Post 5

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Blood and sand! Almost 2 months between webposts? I’ve been most derelict in my duties!

So. What’s new?

Firstly, I’m chuffed to bits how our little keg bar went at #RunawayIs5! The weather held, the beers flew and we had some fun. I (personally) was shattered after a weekend of serving beer (obviously not as fit as I thought!) and it was lovely to finally meet James from Wilderness Beers and get to chat – and who knows what may result for (a possible) #ISBF7!

Massive thanks to Runaway for inviting us!

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Planning obviously continues and there’s always something to do each day. I was emailing and DM sending at 7 this morning sorting out something (probably) unique to the UK on cask! It’s quite heartwarming how people and breweries reach out and help us. I can’t thank people enough. And if you’re reading, you know who you are.

Of course being born a hybrid Disorganised Organiser/Blithering Idiot, I’ve gone slightly over my previously set beer/brewery limits, but YOU don’t care one whit about that eh? I promise that you’ll get something different – hell, EVERY beer should be new to Manchester – something to tickle your sweet spots. (I already know at least 3 of the beers and trust me....... ;-)

You DO trust me, don’t you?

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As many of you will know, we have a party at The Brink just before the tickets for #ISBF6 are opened to the public. This little bash gives people the first chance (and one of only TWO* ways to guarantee them) to buy tickets. They also get chance to buy a one off t-shirt. All the beers for that bash are specially chosen by YT from breweries having lines at #ISBF6 too.

Well. For that bash, (on 25th August at 6:3o BTW) there’ll be a special collab beer made with a bunch of friends which I’m REALLY looking forward to making. We did this last year and the beer went faster than Stanley posing for a fanshot!

Tickets for that launch are free. They’ll be available at 8pm on 25th July. And there’s only 55. You’ve been warned. They all went within an hour last year…..

Last year’s launch bash collab…….

Last year’s launch bash collab…….

ISBF has steadily evolved over the last 6 years. From years 1&2 being Northern & Cask only, to last year being both nearly 70% keg AND having our first beer from outside the UK.

#ISBF6 sees further evolution. Plans have been afoot for some time about having a something a little “different” on the #EvilKegFilth bar. Part of that is assured, part logistically complex – especially for a small event like this, one with little profile. However, I’m working on it. I have my digits crossed.

Trust me. It WILL be worth it.

And. Even at this stage, Collabs have been planned and organised and already two of my very favourite Cask breweries have been paired with two of the best keg breweries. People who respect each other, the beers each other make. To say I’m looking forward to these is – to put it mildly – an understatement.

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Events wise, I’m going to stick at two. Moving the one from the busiest session on the Saturday lunchtime to Thursday evening.

Thursday evening – This will feature the previously mentioned discussion (and tasting) about the flavour and techniques interface between Artisan Cider and small batch Craft Beer. Led by acclaimed Cider Maker and writer Susanna Forbes of Little Pomona Cider

Now then. This will be ticketed separately. Because – Independently – I’ve secured (I think) – something very special and limited for sampling. Tickets will be sold, but purely to recoup some of the costs (so they won’t be extortionate).

Friday Evening – We’ll have a discussion about something that I personally am very passionate about. Beer and Social Media. And people in this group will be amongst the best utilisers of Social Media in the business. From breweries, pubs and shops. I’ll be there for ALL of that!

So.

·         Launch Bash? Check!

·         Teasing? Check!

·         Events? Check!

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*Sponsorship – I never stop banging this drum do I?

Personally and as a group, I’m proud that we keep sponsors coming back. Independent businesses and individuals who care deeply about what we do and love being involved. We’ve so far received pledges totalling over £1k more than what we received last year. But – of course – that’s never enough 😁

Recently, I had an opportunity to reach out to a large, very large, company to obtain headline type sponsorship. And – to be honest – it was easy to turn down. With such things, you never know how much the feeling of the event could change. And I (and I think you too) like the relaxed feel of this event. I don’t ever want that to change. So, like I said, I didn’t follow it up.

But – to restate – Sponsorship is one of only two ways to guarantee your tickets for #ISBF6. For £65, you get

1.       Two tickets to the session of your choice

2.       £10 tokens per beer sponsored

3.       2 glasses

4.       Our profound gratitude and that of our sponsored charity Start Inspiring Minds.

If you are interested in sponsoring a beer or taking out a full page ad (£50) in the pretty programme, click the link here. Let’s smash last year’s charity donation eh?

And remember, ALL profits from this event go to that charity. ALL.

That’s all for now. Next time you’ll hear from me on this website will be on 25th July. At 8pm. When I release 55 tickets for the #ISBF6 launch bash.

#ISBF6 - Post 4 : Brewday No 1. Torrside

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Brewdays. Sometimes, planets align. In the ISBF6 Constellation, Torrside are stars. Always up for doing something special.

Two weeks ago, they opened the doors to 2 helpers and one (Beerfinder) interloper. I pass you to Alice, for eloquence way beyond a 16thC Wandering Inquisitor. (Photos courtesy of a bad Vincent Price impersonator)

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Its 9:05 on Sunday morning (That’s a positive LIE IN! Ed) and Luke (@hopsnsprockets) and I are on the train trundling out of Stockport through the southern reaches of Greater Manchester and into the rolling hills of the Derbyshire Dales clutching a hefty cargo of homemade sausage rolls. We’re on our way to New Mills, a charming mill town in High Peak famed of the Swizzels sweet factory and, far more importantly, home to Torrside Brewing with whom we are to spend the day brewing up an early addition to the ISBF line up.

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The fact we’re on the way at all is something of a miracle given that our local pub, Stockport’s little gem that is the Petersgate Tap, was in the final throws of hosting its ‘Monsters’ event. An entire weekend with close to every tap and hand pull dedicated to a selection of the aforementioned Torrside Brewing’s more potent offerings.

It’s a ballsy move, not every establishment would want to risk scaring off potential punters with a wall of beer upward of 9% or indeed have to deal with the potential aftermath of such a crackpot scheme. However, with Torrside having earned themselves a well-deserved reputation for producing impossibly smooth and easy drinking ‘big beers’ along with a hugely enthusiastic legion of loyal follows from across the region and beyond, it can’t help but be an unmitigated success. So much so this was the second Monsters Weekend of the year.

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All three of Torrside’s guests this morning are feeling the after effects of two days indulgence in ‘ones they made earlier’. We all went in hard on Friday, (with @beerfindergeneral in particular carving himself out a notable and well-tweeted place in local folklore) only to find ourselves back for some hair of the Dogs of War on Saturday.

And so it is that a slightly jaded trio meet at New Mills New Town station. James graciously took some merciless ribbing on the chin on the stroll down to the brewery, a good job as fairly obvious it wouldn’t be the last time that day his various shenanigans were to the subject of much mirth given we are about to spend it with the gentleman proudly responsible for his downfall.

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Having done a little homework and read some of Jim’s other brew day blog posts, I know that he generally eschews the technical details (having covered them countless times before) in favour of a more anecdotal recount of the day’s activities. Excellent news for me. Whilst Luke has embraced home brewing with a fervour (regularly turning our kitchen into a hop scented Turkish bath house), I remain keener on the social aspects of beer; its discovery, consumption, sharing and discussion; content to pass judgement on someone else’s hard work. Don’t get me wrong, I know my fermenter from my mash tun but I’m hardly an authority on the finer nuances of the brewing process.

Cheerily greeted by brewers Chris (Spade Master) and Peter (Chief Spoon Wielder), I handed over my pork based snack offering. I saw this as a handy way to ensure I was looked upon favourably, no matter how useless I turned out to be at any other brew day activity.

With the formalities taken care of, it was time to crack on with the business of the day. I’m not sure how much I can give away as regards the particulars of the beer brewed specially for ISBF. Suffice to say it will be one of Torrside’s eponymous Monsters, a noble hopped, barrel aged Belgian beast.

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With the grain hefted, stirred and merrily mashing, Nick, brewer number three, arrived at the ideal moment to assume his role as barman for the day and crack open the first of many varied and interesting beers.

The early wort; the thick, sweet, monster making stuff; made its way into to a state of the art piece of brewing equipment, a giant olive oil pan specially imported from Italy sitting on a paella burner. The first of the noble hops went in to the boil, eliciting an impressively vivid green eruption. Peter put on a demonstration of liquid thermodynamics worthy of the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, creating a hypnotic sequence of whirlpools and volcanoes and we all stood transfixed by the bubbling cauldron like a group of survivors huddled around a burning oil drum in a scene from some post-apocalyptic movie.

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As the brew cooled, the time wiled gently away. We chatted and joked and supped. The sausage rolls dwindled. Peter stirred (and stirred and stirred), estimating the temperature of the brew with remarkable accuracy as only a man skilled in his craft can, based on how sticky his spoon handle was getting.

The Torrside dogs kept us entertained. Kami (an old hand at all this nonsense) sat quietly by the doors soaking up a few rays, safe in the knowledge that the humans would come to her and she would not want for attention with minimal effort on her part. Toshi, the newest member of the family was far more forthright in his demands for a scratch and a leg upon which to lean. A doe eyed, spindly creature who at first glance looked to have the appropriate number of limbs in the appropriate places and a willowy air of grace and poise…until he moved and it was evident that he wasn’t a dog at all but a cross between a daddy-long-legs and a tangled up slinky strung together with bungee cords.

Digging out the mash tun, I enquired as to whether they’d found anything useful to do with the spent grains. There followed a colourful description of the farmer that collects it to feed his cows and the local Tesco’s discount aisle on a Friday night where he might be found with his unfortunately stereotypical cohorts, baler twine belts and flat caps a plenty.

Eventually it came time to transfer the brew to the fermenter. This was yet another highly technological operation utilising a Wilko’s basic sieve and plastic measuring jug.

It is my belief that these low tech solutions are undoubtedly one of the things that makes beer brewed on this scale what it is. Today was a new experience for me and I wasn’t sure what to expect but there was something reassuringly familiar about the whole process, not so far removed from the home brew roots from which Torrside grew.

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I feel like we, as enthusiasts, often perceive a sort of kinship or shared understanding with the brewers that produce our favourite beers. Spending the day with the Torrside team showed me that this relationship isn’t imagined.

The beer itself is a real and tangible connection between the brewer and the drinker and through that product we experience a little bit of the time, effort, enthusiasm and passion that is poured into what they do. It’s why each brewer has something distinctive about their beer, a little of that individual’s personality can’t help but make its way into the stuff that eventually lands in your pint glass and it’s why something brewed in a sterile, faceless factory devoid of any actual people can never hope to have the depth of character of something that’s been patiently stirred by hand for four hours.

With the brew day wrapped up, the temptation to sit back and relax for a few more convivial beers was hard to resist, but we made the first sensible decision of the weekend and called it a day. It was a school night after all! My heartfelt thanks to Jim and James for inviting us along and to Peter, Chris and Nick for having us. I look forward to sampling the fruits of the days labour in November!

#ISBF6 - Post 3

Pretty innit?

Pretty innit?

Hello again! I did say that I’d try to keep these posts to monthly. I’ve almost kept my word.

A few bits of info for you for this update.

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Firstly, Sponsorship. I’d like to say a huge “THANK YOU” to Petersgate Tap who have agreed to sponsor our petite and bijou programme! I rather like having a programme rather than a sheet of paper, it allows us to highlight the lovely design of the Boy Genius and gives us room to give you information and have some fun. They aren’t cheap to produce, but the sponsorship helps hugely in that regard.

And – more to the point and the ethos of ISBF – The Petersgate is a bloody splendid bar and – crucially – Independent. Again, thank you!

And – whilst on the subject of sponsorship…..

One of the things I’m most proud of with this event, is the fact that there is no “corporate” sponsorship. That the people who get involved – via sponsoring beers and other things, are individuals and independent small local businesses. They feel what we do. They understand. And they enjoy it all the more.

So far this year, I haven’t really pushed this hard, but at the moment, we have almost the same level of committed sponsorship pledges as in the WHOLE of #ISBF5. That’s bloody amazing.

The feeling I’m getting is that – once launched on 25th August at 8pm : set calendars! – tickets won’t last long. So, you know what’s coming eh?

One of the ONLY ways you may be able to gurantee a ticket for #ISBF6, IS via sponsorship. Those tickets will be reserved. A bit like presales.

WHAT YOU GET : For your £65 beer sponsorship

2 tickets – to the session of your choice

£10 beer tokens per sponsorship

2 pretty glasses

Interested? Click on the “contacts” tab. Simples!

Next up…… on the subject of thatpretty glassware.

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I’ve always liked an “etch” look to glassware. Makes it look just that bit more special. I’ma huge fan of The Prisoner and was thrilled to be allowed to refer to the iconic imagery by the rights holder ITV Studios. I normally ask for mock ups of the glassware imagery much nearer the time of the event, but just couldn’t help myself…. So….

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Unlike last year, the etch really seems to work. I (Jim) am chuffed to bits with the way It’s turned out, as are our generous sponsors House of Hops! Claire & Scott were beaming when I showed them on Wednesday, the day before their 1st birthday!

Like I said last time, I’m so pleased we have another sponsor local to the event, it also helps that they’re lovely people too.

And now – a little surprise....

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A few months back, I was approached by someone I find it difficult to say “No” to. With a proposition.

I’m a bit of a fan boy of Runaway Brewery – always have been. Mark has been a big supporter of what we do from Day 1. So when he asked, I simply couldn’t say no. To be honest, I was incredibly flattered and nearly hugged him.

So. What am I waffling about?

This year, Runaway Brewery is 5 years old. And Mark wants to have a weekend party at the end of May. And – I’m giggling here – asked would I like to have an #ISBF6 themed/branded bar as part of the event.

The idea. An #EvilKegFilth bar. With breweries that will most certainly be appearing at Hemsley House on Halloween. Mark let me run off and play. So I did.

8 breweries. 10 beers. And I – for one – Can’t wait to try them all! The breweries and beers are listed below.

Come along. Have some fun. It’s Manchester. It’s a Bank Holiday weekend! Let’s party! And I (WHOOP!) get to work behind a bar!!!

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Finally, the obligatory tease. Well, it wouldn’t be one of my posts if I didn’t, would it?

In the afterglow of #ISBF5, some offers of assistance came my way, regarding the sourcing of something...... a bit different. And, as one of the mantras has always been “evolution, not revolution” I was suitably intrigued to follow up.

These conversations have continued over the last few months and what was – initially – a little refreshed wishful thinking, has solidified. Up to the point where we are 75% certain of pulling this off.

It may not happen, of course. Logistically, it may prove too much of a challenge for our humble little bash. But...... If it DOES happen, I personally (and I may be wrong of course) have never heard of the like in this area of Greater Manchester. Maybe even the UK.

Hell am I excited at the thought!

And. I’ll keep it under my hat. Let’s say, it will be a nice surprise.

Back soon! Be kind to one another.

Jim x

#ISBF6 - Post 2

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Pretty eh?

Hello again!

It’s nice to catch up eh? I’ll probably keep these updates to once a month (so long as there is something to say, some “news” to impart...)

In Post #1, I alluded to paying a little more attention to cider. Well....

If I’m honest, I’ve been embarrassed re Cider at ISBF for some time. Not that I believe that what we had was rubbish – it wasn’t – but that I never focused on it. Never have I given it even close to the attention I’ve given beer. Real last minute stuff every year. Until this year.

This year, I’m quite excited about it.

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In December, I had a chance encounter with a lovely couple whilst at Torrside picking up a clutch of Monsters. We chatted and got on well. They said they normally drank Cider, but didn’t at #ISBF5 and focused on some of the tarter beers and really loved them.

It was only afterwards that I realised that they were arguably Greater Manchester’s premier Cider enthusiasts and evangelists. Dick is responsible for the unbeatable Cider Map of Manchester and Cath is an aspiring Pommelier – yes, such a thing exists! So, a month later, I met up with Dick and we talked. And I was fascinated with developments in small batch artisan Cider. I wanted to know more.

Then he invited me to a Cider tasting at Runaway.

Oh. My. Days. My eyes were opened!

Suffice to say, I’m excited. And I’m not easily excited.

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So. The idea is to have a presentation / tasting / MTC (Meet The Cidermaker) with someone so elevated in the Cider world as to be almost out of reach to the likes of #ISBF6. Precise details haven’t been hammered out yet, but......

Acclaimed author and renowned Artisan Cidermaker Susanna Forbes and a special guest will be leading a tasting and discussion about Real modern Cider linking in to the (substantial) flavour, aroma and techniques interface between Cider & Craft Beer.

This will be something NOT to MISS. I, for one, am genuinely excited. Those who know me, know that I choose (and use) words very carefully. And mean everything I say. This is not hype.

And this work is all down to Dick & Cath... For which I thank them hugely!

Next up. We’ve got a new glassware Sponsor!!!

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ISBF has always tried to be about localism. And at its heart, it remains committed to being as local as it can be. It supports local causes – this year Start Inspiring Minds again – and we like to be involved with local independent businesses. I’m absolutely delighted to say that our new glassware Sponsor is the ace Swinton Micro Pub House of Hops!

Located just around the corner from Salford Town Hall, it couldn’t be more appropriate!

We were really excited when Claire & Scott made the decision to open a Micro Pub. Even more so that it was a mere 15 mins door to door from my (Jim) house! We’ve been thrilled to see how successful they’ve become in a location (Swinton) where they’ve become the vanguard for modern tasty beer.

I was made up when they approached, the decision to agree was instant. To have a glassware Sponsor that is local to the event, it matters. And we couldn’t be happier.

The “Look”

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Almost before we’d finished serving at #ISBF5, I’d had an idea, a thought as to what I wanted the imagery based on. I discussed it (briefly) with Andy (aka Design Genius) and he was quite excited – which is always a good start. But I needed to reach out. Re copyright. And I had to dig a bit.

The copyright had changed hands over the years, but I managed to locate the current rights holder and – having emailed – was the recipient of a phone call from a rather lovely lady who seemed surprised that I’d asked (they don’t normally, apparently!). It was an easy chat. I think we actually spent more time discussing likely breweries than the subject of permissions!

Suffice to say, I obtained permission. It was surprisingly easy. And I’m all giggly.

Next, Ticketing.

The “back office” stuff doesn’t normally impact on the attendees, but I thought I’d bring this up.

Weirdly, I get approached by varies companies over the course of a year about ticketing services. Most of the time, a polite “I’m OK with what we’ve got, thanks... “ type reply suffices. But one company caught my eye with the phrase “50% of our fee goes to a charity of your choice”.

That was the bait on the hook. I bit.

The firm is Citizen Ticket. And once is spoken and was assured that that money could go to START, I was sold. So. That’s where we will be hosting ticket sales.

Dates : 31st October to 2nd November

Tickets – as I’ve said previously – will go on public sale at 8pm on 25th August. Unless you’re at our little launch bash....

That will be at The Brink on the same evening at 6:30. Attendees to that will get first chance to buy tickets, get to drink exclusive beers brewed for the event and a chance to buy some exclusive bits and bobs. Tickets for that will go up (they’re already set up!) on Monday 22nd July at 8pm.

Set calendars....

Sponsorship! I nearly forgot…….

If you’d like to get involved with our little bash via sponsoring a beer or something, please get in touch via the “contacts” page. Last year, we were overwhelmed with the number of individuals and small local businesses that got involved. This year, we’d love to hear from you - people have already started without a reminder!

Sponsoring a beer (or cider!) will cost £65. What you get is…..

2 tickets to the session of choice

£10 of tokens per sponsorship

2 glasses

The choice of Supplier to sponsor - based on order of contact.

i look forward to hearing from you!

That’s all for now. (I’ve started contacting breweries, but that’s boring isn’t it?....)

Keep your eyes peeled. Back soon.

Jx

#ISBF6 - Post 1

Happy New Year!

The end of each year is always the time when I (Jim) attempt to catch those beers I missed on the bar at ISBF. 2018 was no different. Ah.... The perils of being – or attempting to be – responsible during the event eh?

And – despite my promises to self to take some time off – it’s also the time when I take stock of what worked and – more importantly – what didn’t. The things that I got wrong.

And look to put those things right.

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It’s truly heartwarming when you see plaudits being handed out, when you see the efforts of the entire group of helpers and volunteers rewarded with “Best Beer Festival” gongs. It makes me go all gooey when people (rightly) point out the feeling, the friendliness of the team, the music, everything but the beer.

Because – whilst the beer is important – these things are about people enjoying themselves. And if you DO enjoy yourself, we’ve done our job. And enjoyed ourselves doing it.

But. And here’s the rub. Having set a date of end of October, that means planning has to start now. And has.

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I’ve already stated that there will be changes on the beer front. 70 keg and 30 cask. With the cask all dispensed straight from the vessel. The aim being that each beer you get will be cooled. Not warm. It’s difficult at beer festivals to get cask right, but, within the facilities we have, we’ll try. I also had a few whispers in my ear about potential opportunities for something “different” – on both cask and keg. Those have been pursued this week and may have already borne fruit.

To be frank, if these come off, I’ll be astonished. But you’ve got to shoot for the stars right?

For my (Jim) part, I’ve always been acutely aware that I haven’t paid enough attention to the non-beer side of this event. So I intend to make use of the next 7 months and address that. Indeed, I’ve already made some progress on that. To the extent that – for the first time - at #ISBF6, we’ll have a presentation on the Thursday evening. Indeed, there is already an agreement in place. And if this comes off it may be game changing for us.

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Another change will be fewer tickets. Yes. You read that correctly. Fewer tickets. That applies on the Friday evening through to Saturday evening. The numbers will be reduced to 250 maximum. Why? It was just a bit too warm. And a teensy bit too crowded. To offset that, there’ll be a slight increase for the Thursday evening and Friday lunch sessions. To 200.

THAT should mean that the majority of (the increased) beer volume should last well into Saturday evening.

And – on that subject – the alarm bells that started to ring during that Saturday evening session mean that I need to recognise that – despite the mitigation I’ve mentioned above – there will be a slight gamble with beer choice on the Saturday evening. Let me be clear, ALL of the beer is – or is sourced to be – as exceptional as I can get. I don’t do FOMO, but need to recognise that some do. So, with that in mind, ticket price for that session will be slightly reduced. (Not by much, because the entry element is a small part of the ticket price.)

Going back to breweries. And beer... I’m tickled that several breweries that haven’t been at ISBF previously have agreed to come and have beer at #ISBF6. Each year things need to change, but one thing that won’t is the requirement for each beer to be new to Manchester (as at the start of the event). And – if it comes off – there’ll be a major change with the keg offer. Which, logistically, may be a challenge too far. But we’re certainly going to try.

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And this year – for the first time – as much thought will be given to the cider as to the beer. So watch this space.

For now, that’s it. I’ll keep you updated when I’ve got information for you. But, please remember this. Given the feedback I’ve had and the continuing complimentary social media, when those fewer tickets go on sale on 25th August, don’t hang about. Because I get the feeling that they won’t last long.

Be kind to one another.

Jim x