How to run a successful beer festival

We carefully select beers each season from over 200 UK brewers, producing and maintaining a “live” catalogue of over 1,500 beers, working with a range of breweries – from long established brewers producing old favourites, to small independent start-up brewers, and everything in between.

We believe that our catalogue is the most comprehensive selection of festival beers available in the UK.

Our free comprehensive list of tasting notes gives you all the information that you need on a beer, all in one place.


Top Tips for running a successful Beer Festival
  1. Plan for success
  2. Give yourself plenty of time
  3. Select the right date
  4. Select the right beers
  5. Consider how you will price your beers
  6. Consider where you will cellar & serve your beers
  7. Consider whether your require additional dispense equipment
  8. Consider if you will be offering food
  9. Consider if you will be supplying entertainment
  10. Consider if you will need additional Bar staff
  11. Consider how best to promote and advertise your event
  12. Evaluate
Detail-Planning and running a beer festival

As an organiser of a beer festival remember the headline benefits:

Many bigger retailers and pub chains use the timing of festivals tactically at key points in the year, aiming to bring lapsed regular beer drinkers back into the pub.

The objective is to reconnect a regular pub goer with their local, and set their regular pub going behaviour e.g. ‘Let’s have a drink every Tuesday night.

There are certain times of the year when beer festivals influence consumers’ drinking patterns.

Beer drinkers will go out of their way to ensure that they plan to attend events at key times of the year. These include:-


  • Easter – combine darker “winter warmers” with lighter, hoppier beers for Spring, with the bonus of the double bank holiday weekend.
  • May – with the option of two Bank Holidays in May, take advantage of the coming of Spring with a switch from darker “winter warmers” to lighter, hoppier blonde beers.
  • August – this month has (usually!) better weather for outdoor events, and again sees a Bank Holiday late in the month – showcase the easy drinking, low-strength summer ales.
  • September/October – time to host your own Oktoberfest? Darker nights & shorter days so more free time in the evenings? Time to reunite with some friendly faces? Offer autumnal red ales and perhaps move towards darker, warming ales. Consider running your Beer Festival during Cask Ale Week in September – Cask Marque will help promote your event.

Preparation and planning well ahead is key to the success of your event. Ensure you consider the following points when planning your Beer Festival:

Make sure you select and order your beers from Flying Firkin well ahead to ensure you get your selection

Set the right date


Which Beers
  • The fun bit is choosing your beers – set your budget and think about the event – do you want to theme it? To give it a focus that drinkers would find interesting?
  • The number of ales that you decide to stock will be dependent on the size of your outlet and the expected number of customers to attend.
  • Try to order a varied range of strengths, colours and different styles of ale (for example mild’s, porters, blonde ales, strong ales) Aim to have something to suit every palate. More comprehensive advice can be found in the ‘Select your beers’ section
  • Call us to discuss your selection of cask ales. Flying Firkin beers can be supplemented with directly delivered beers from local breweries.
  • Remember your festival does not have to be limited to hand pull beers only. Why not include bottled beers of the world, ciders or gins.Also remember to have a supply of soft drinks for designated drivers

– Green at one price for beers below 4% abv
– Yellow at a higher price for beers between 4.1% and 4.9% abv
– Red at a higher price for beers above 5% abv



  • Simple stillaging can be constructed from scaffolding or even hay bales. However, there are also specialist companies that hire out complete cooling and dispense kits for festivals.
  • Handpull pumps are by far the best way to dispense cask ale, but if you do not have any spare then cask ale can be served ‘gravity fed’ through a tap
  • Cask ‘Widget’ kits are also available. These enable the beer to be dispensed from the cask whilst is in an upright position, drawing the beer from the top of the cask using a float system.
  • Cooling: consider the fact that if the cask ales are being kept outside, or in the bar area itself, then the containers will need to be insulated to maintain their temperature. Cooling jackets can be obtained from a variety of suppliers
Bar Staff


Promoting your Event
  • Your event is easily promoted internally through the use of posters, chalkboards and banners. Make sure you let your customers know the date and time of your event and what products, foods and entertainment will be available on the day.
  • Consider using social media extensively to promote your event further. Instagram and Facebook posts can be used to promote the event and generate interest in the lead up to it. Consider asking customers to nominate ales to be included in your beer festival.
  • Consider advertising in your local press or creating your own direct mail campaign to target surrounding areas and keep them updated with your quarterly calendar of events. Think about other services your customers may use and target these businesses directly, for example taxi firms, sports clubs, local societies, takeaway food outlets, bus services.
  • Create a press release about your beer festival and contact your local newspaper and radio station. They are always looking for good stories so if you can put a unique angle on your story it is more likely to get printed, e.g., an ale named after your pub, twenty ales from within a ten mile radius, Vote for Your Favourite Festival Beer competition etc
  • Consider contacting your local branch of Camra and ask them to include your event in their local news features.
Top Tip