How to run a beer festival in your pub

Why not celebrate all things beer-like and encourage new customers into your pub whilst giving them a different experience in your premises.

Hold a mini beer Festival and showcase half a dozen ales to your customers as part of your entertainment plan!

Our outline plan will help you to set-up and run your own mini beer festival helping you to bring in new customers and pique the interest and spend of your existing ones.

Work out your dates.

Check what’s on locally so you don’t clash with any other events that are similar, some events might actually be a good clash! Check sports fixtures also to see what is on and whether this can be utilised.
Aim for a whole weekend and if possible include a bank holiday to maximise your sales time. Consider a theme depending on the time of year.

Look at your venue.

Where will you set up, what do you need? Depending on time of year you may utilise your outside space so may need a marquee or gazebo.

Do you need any extra equipment? Your local Camra may offer the equipment or point you to the direction of a local supplier. Talk to local breweries too as they may be keen to be involved and showcase their beers and you could strike up a good relationship.

Work out your drinks offering.

Make sure you offer a good amount of lower abv beers which will encourage drinkers to try more variety without fear of a killer hangover!

Think about offering ciders to appeal to your clientele too. You may want to opt for bright preconditioned beer if possible, this will cost you a premium due to the extra work involved for the supplier but will make life easier for you.

Talk to suppliers and other publicans if possible who have run beer festivals to help you work how much to buy. It is better to have variety and run out then be left with stock of low shelf life beer.
If you are a tied pub you will need to check what’s available with your brewery.

craft beer


Do a little market research by looking at what other beer festivals have run locally which are scaleable down to your premises.

You’ll need to consider margins and pricing strategy. Across the board pricing which is rounded up is easier to deal with in terms of speed to serve and having change.


It is good to have printed tasting sheets and information for drinkers so they can get a feel for what is on offer and the background of the brewery, the beers origins etc. This adds to the overall experience of your festival by adding an educational dimension too!


Flaming Lips Ruining Your Drink Image

Feed them!

Think about food and what will go with your offering and can be served reasonably quickly. Consider offering bite sized or small plates and put nuts or crisps that are salty on the bar.
Beer & cheese go well together and offer an interesting theme.

Plastic fantastic

You may find that plastic glasses are much easier to deal with. Make sure to offer smaller measures to allow for more beer tasting including halves and thirds.

A grand day out

To get more interest, provide some activities for all the family which will encourage customers to make a day of it and not restrict your clientele. Music, a themed game (eg an Easter egg hunt for kids), competitions, colouring, a bouncy castle if its better weather etc. Maybe there are local companies that want to come in and publicise themselves in return for activities, eg. an out of school club came & did face painting at an event we attended so they could meet prospective customers.

Getting the word out

Get it advertised on your A board, on local internet listings, what’s on guide in your local paper and encourage shares of the post on your Facebook page by offering 1 person who likes and shares it a voucher towards beer. This is a really cost effective way of reaching out to a huge audience for about £10. Pick a customer that has shared it and tag them in a post to announce them as a winner.
Advertise it within your pub and get staff talking to your customers about it too.

Couples enjoying their evening

Make sure your staff know what drinks you are offering, what they taste like, the brewery, and prices. Knowledge of your product is essential to success.

Enjoy it!

Smile, have fun and see how it goes – your enjoyment will be infectious to your staff and customers!