Manchester is in the midst of a beer revolution and to celebrate the city’s brewing heritage and vibrant pub scene, a new event is coming to the city next year – Manchester Beer Week. Taking place next summer, Manchester Beer Week will also look to encourage casual beer drinkers to broaden their horizons and buy local. Time Out Manchester had a chat with founder Connor Murphy about the plans.
Manchester Beer Week is set to take place over ten days from Friday June 10 and will bring together the city’s breweries, bars and pubs to promote their common interest – beer. A launch party will kick off the week and it’ll end with a large closing party, and in between there will be a wide variety of events to showcase the city’s breweries and pub culture.
Ideas currently in the pipeline include a week-long pub quiz taking place across venues which will end with a cumulative winner, beer and food pairing events with local delis and the resurrection of historical Manchester brews.
The driving force behind Manchester Beer Week is proud Mancunian and prolific beer blogger Connor Murphy. He says the idea for the event came from his love of beer and the city, and a keenness to draw attention to the city’s beer scene.
‘I’ve had it in mind for a while and I’m surprised nobody’s thought to do this before,’ Connor says. He adds that the success of London Beer City, a seven day celebration which took place in the capital this summer, spurred him on.
‘Manchester’s compact, friendly and has a great pub scene. It’s time to showcase it and make people realise it’s not all about London,’ he says. He adds Manchester’s beer industry has now grown to a point that the city can now support a large-scale, multi-venue event.
Although there will be plenty on to appeal to craft beer drinkers, Connor is keen to stress that the event is not just aimed at those who already have an active interest in Manchester’s beer scene.
‘As much as possible, I don’t just want to focus on beer lovers – I’m keen to spread the appeal,’ he says.
To do this, he plans a range of ‘gateway’ events to encourage people to expand their horizons and try something new – even if they’re not keen on beer. He’s also looking at catering to more traditional real ale drinkers and showcase the modern scene (‘I want to show it’s not all just crazy flavours!’, he says). He’s also in discussions with the council to look at the possibility of tastings in the street to reach casual shoppers and tourists.
Getting everyone involved in the beer industry – from brewers of varying sizes to pubs and bars – to work together is one of the key aspects of Manchester Beer Week, as is getting organisations such the council, retailers and organisers of food events and markets to take part.
Smaller local breweries including the likes of Runaway, Squawk, Track, Beer Nouveau and Cloudwater are among those interested, and Connor is also in discussions with the city’s traditional family brewers such as Hydes, JW Lees and Robinsons – as well as a large-scale family brewer from outside Manchester.
CAMRA are also taking a keen interest. The organisation has been seen by some in the past as being less than forward looking, but has recently been aiming to change and widen its appeal and remit, as shown by a decision in their most recent AGM to support serving beer from key-kegs.
‘CAMRA have a really important role as beer moves forward, especially as cask is so important to beer’s history and future’, Connor says. ‘If everybody involved in the beer industry in Manchester works together, it gives everyone a chance to eat into the market that the macro lagers currently have.'
Manchester Beer Week, June 10-19, various venues.
See Time Out's guide to Manchester's best craft beer.