Great British Beer Festival

Great British Beer Festival
Photo: gbbf.org.uk
The Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) is an annual beer festival held in London, United Kingdom. It is organized by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), an independent consumer organization that promotes real ale, real cider, and traditional British pubs. The festival runs over 5 days in August and features about 350 exhibitors from all over the country.

CAMRA was founded in 1971 in Dunquin, Ireland. Its organizers were opposed to the growing mass production of beer and wanted to stop the homogenization of the British brewing industry. CAMRA held its first beer festival in 1975. It was a four-day event that took place in Covent Garden, London and attracted 40,000 people. This event is considered the forerunner of the present-day GBBF.

The first “official” Great British Beer Festival took place in 1977 in Alexandra Palace. The festival was hosted by several cities (London, Leeds, Birmingham, Brighton) between 1977 and 1990. Since 1991, it has settled in London and has been held in Docklands Arena (1991), Olympia (1992–2005, 2012–), and Earls Court (2006–2011).

The Great British Beer Festival is sometimes referred to as the world’s biggest pub. It is held during the first full week in August, running from Tuesday to Saturday. The festival offers about 900 beverages every year, including at least 450 British beers and around 200 beers from foreign breweries, as well as traditional British cider and perry (sometimes called “pear cider, although CAMRA does not accept this name). In 2017, the festival introduced a selection of English wines for the first time.

GBBF attracts over 65,000 people every year and sells about 350,000 pints of beer. Of course, beer isn’t everything that the festival has to offer. It also features food vendors, stalls with books and souvenirs, entertainment such as traditional pub games and live music, book signings, pub quizzes, tutored tastings, industry events such as trade sessions, and more.

Up until 2015, the Great British Beer Festival hosted the Champion Beer of Britain Awards ceremony. In 2016, however, the winner was announced at a special dinner. The change was made to raise the profile of the competition.

Great British Beer Festival


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