Friends & Family & Beer is here!
The time has come!
Tomorrow marks the start of our first festival, Friends & Family & Beer, and we couldn’t be more excited to join you all in a celebration of everything we hold dear.
The name of the festival aims to capture those things we treasure in our day-to-day lives. We want you, our friends, to come along and enjoy some of the world’s best beer, in-depth conversation, and great times with our extended brewing family. This is designed as a celebration of independent values, with an emphasis on the incredible community we are part of, where risks are taken, knowledge is shared, successes are celebrated, and where shortcomings are candidly addressed to ensure we all move forward.
We’ve invited breweries specifically because we consider them our family - we have worked with them in the past, developed strong personal relationships through problem-solving, through time spent in each other’s breweries, over beers, and have built relationships that transcend our love of beer, and our passion for our communities. But we’ve also invited a small number of breweries we consider trailblazers, that were instrumental in creating and fostering the scene we love so dearly today, as a way of recognising their pioneering work that so often goes overlooked in our fast-paced, always-new niche today.
It’s humbling to see friends, family, brewers and drinkers from across the world join us in Manchester and our home for the weekend, Upper Campfield Market, couldn’t be more fitting. It may be a little unloved after sitting vacant for several years but this Grade II-listed Victorian market hall is a building that truly speaks of Manchester, of its industrial past, and of the skilled craftsmanship that has always sat at the heart of this vibrant city.
We are also really pleased that this festival will give us an opportunity to give something back to our hometown. We are running it as a not-for-profit event, so all profits from ticket sales will be going to two Manchester charities doing amazing work with some of the most vulnerable people within our society, Mustard Tree and Coffee4Craig. You’ll see collection buckets on entrance and exit from the venue so any further donations you might like to make, however big or small, would be gratefully received.
We know the beer is the main thing that will bring you all to the festival, and we’ve put an incredible amount of work into building a beer list that reflects the full breadth of different ideas and approaches prevalent in the modern industry - from the risk-takers and continuous innovators to those who pour their heart and soul into mastering classic styles. We believe every one of them deserves your time and respect and we’re honoured that they’ve entrusted us to present their beer in the best possible way.
You can view the full festival beer list here but you can also get updates on any session-by-session changes to the beer list via The Brewer’s Eye app, which is available on both iOS and Android. The Brewer’s Eye is the best way to keep track of the line-up throughout the weekend and keep an eye out for any specific beers you might be desperate to try.
Download the app, and make sure to favourite our brewery page to receive push notifications throughout the weekend whenever new beers are tapped. You’ll also be able to get a starting beer list for each session.
You can favourite our brewery page by simply clicking the heart next to our brewery name on the app’s home page, as shown in the screenshot.
In a bid to reduce queues, limit the possibility of breweries selling out ridiculously fast, and to create a more relaxed festival environment that allows you to focus on having a good time in good company, we have made a bold move in guaranteeing everyone a pour from the most sought-after breweries in attendance.
We understand this move is fairly unique and we may not get the concept 100% right first time, but we've put in a serious amount of thought and hard work to put together a festival that will hopefully both surprise and delight you.
This includes drawing on our own festival experiences to develop ideas that help us to avoid any negative experiences we have witnessed in the past. All of us have been at festivals where we’ve seen breweries sell out completely within an hour, others attract long queues which eat into your valuable time, and drinkers leave disappointed after missing out on the chance to try beer from a specific brewery.
So, we identified the five breweries we believe will be the most sought-after and bought enough beer to offer everyone attending a guaranteed pour from each of them. These breweries are Hill Farmstead, Monkish, Other Half, Trillium and The Veil.
The guaranteed pour system will operate for the first three-and-a-half hours of each four-and-a-half hour session, during which period each attendee will be guaranteed a single 120ml pour from Hill Farmstead and a single 70ml pour from each of Monkish, Other Half, Trillium and The Veil. This will be tracked using a stamp card that every customer will receive upon entry and marked off by the person pouring at each stand.
For the final hour of each session - once the guaranteed pour system ceases operating - you will be able to get as many 120ml pours of Hill Farmstead and 70ml pours of Monkish, Other Half, Trillium and The Veil as you can until each brewery runs out of beer.
So that you can plan when you would like to claim your guaranteed pour from each brewery as much as possible, we’ve created a session-by-session running list for the five breweries, which can be viewed at the bottom of the beer page.
We understand some folks might feel a bit disappointed at being limited to one pour from each of these breweries for the bulk of the festival, but it is designed to prevent a situation where some people miss out completely and intends to create a fairer situation for everyone attending.
The guaranteed pour system is only in place for those breweries named above and you are free to enjoy as much beer as you would like from any of the other breweries in attendance until they sell out.
We’ve brought in some of Manchester’s finest food and drink traders to provide you with sustenance throughout the festival:
Honest Crust: Famous in Manchester for producing some of the finest wood-fired, sourdough pizzas you’ll ever tuck in to. You can find them in permanent residence at Altrincham Market and Mackie Mayor.
Vaso Kitchen: Hearty and delicious home-cooked Indian street food. The Masala Fries have become the stuff of legend!
Wallace and Sons: An inventive modern take on a Chinese classic - steamed buns from the Bao Boss!
What’s Your Beef?: No-nonsense, proper tasty burgers made with sustainably-sourced, grass-fed beef.
Steep Soda: Handmade, small-batch sodas created in the heart of Manchester. You can also find their delicious creations in our Unit 9 tap room.
Idle Hands: High-quality coffee from a range of artisan roasters. Make sure to visit their Manchester shop, where you’ll find lovely grub to go alongside your coffee.
BAGS AND OTHER POSSESSIONS
Unfortunately, we will not have a cloakroom on site so please travel as light as you possibly can, and only bring items that you can easily carry with you while at the venue. We will allow people to bring unopened bottles and cans of beers onto site with them (we understand many of you will be planning to drop by Unit 9 for take-outs during the festival weekend), but you will not be able to consume these on site.
You can find a map of the festival site below:
LEAVING THE FESTIVAL
The festival venue is neighboured by both business and residential properties so please leave the festival in an orderly fashion and be considerate of those in the surrounding area. There are a number of transport links in the nearby area, including regular train services from Deansgate Station to Manchester’s main rail hubs (Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Victoria and Oxford Road), as well as Metrolink services from Deansgate/Castlefield station.
If you’re looking for somewhere to go after the festival, a number of the city’s best venues are putting on Friends & Family & Beer Fringe events. Check out the full calendar.
See you at the festival!