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Festival of the Outdoors: Beer Week – Raising a glass with Jules Gray

Jules Gray, founder of Sheffield Beer Week and head honcho at Hop Hideout, talks us through the upcoming city-wide celebration of all things beer, which this year will have a specific focus on local breweries and venues.  

As Sheffield Beer Week approaches a decade of celebrations, it certainly offers a reflective moment to look back over the last eight years, just as we begin our ninth in 2023! With over 350 events including craft beer festival Indie Beer Feast, numerous special collaboration beers and thousands of visitors each March making their way around the wonderful breweries, pubs, bars and beer shops of Sheffield, it’s certainly a joyous week to look forward to.

Even in 2021, when the Covid-19 pandemic was continuing to throttle the hospitality industry and the whole beer ecosystem, we pulled together by having a virtual knees-up and supporting each other as best we could. The unifying nature of beer, eh?

Sheffield Beer Week provides that steadfast boost to the city and beats a unifying drum for our beer industry.

LET’S COME TOGETHER

As the ramifications of the pandemic and cost of living crisis swirl around us all, we wholeheartedly believe that this annual event is needed now more than ever. Small businesses are on a tightrope of rising costs, changes in footfall patterns, decreased margins, and emotionally drained staff following three years of facing challenges thrown at every turn. We also personally benefit as visitors to independent beery establishments through the sense of community and social interaction they offer.

Sheffield Beer Week provides that steadfast boost to the city and beats a unifying drum for our beer industry. With that in mind, we’re going back to our roots and championing, even more so, the local beer landscape. Numerous impact reports show that where you spend your money matters, and doing that locally fosters a deeper sense of community, keeps areas vibrant, invests in neighbourhood improvements and provides local jobs.

As well as this, more of your money stays in the locality, providing a positive boost across the whole supply chain and city. We firmly believe that supporting local business will be a big driver in rebuilding communities after the damaging effects of the pandemic.

There’ll be plenty more new beers and collabs happening from Sheffield breweries.

IT’S A JOINT EFFORT

Look out for the release of Sheffield Beer Week, Indie Beer Feast and Abbeydale Brewery’s collaboration beer, ‘Cloud Peak’, which is a Citra, Cascade and Mosaic-hopped session IPA – meeting West and East Coast US-style IPAs in the middle for a delectable drink. There’ll be plenty more new beers and collabs happening from Sheffield breweries Tapped Brew Co, Loxley, Heist, Little Critters, Saint Mars of the Desert, True North and more. With all these exclusive options on offer, it’ll certainly be a special week to visit the city’s beery establishments.

CELEBRATING WOMEN IN BEER

Additional strands include our continued celebration of International Women’s Day, which falls during Sheffield Beer Week. It’s an opportunity to highlight women in the beer trade whose stories are often untold: bar servers, pub managers, beer business owners, brewers, marketers, hop merchants and more! We’d like to mention the fantastic work of Sheffield Feminist Archive who amplify women’s voices in the city, highlighting their achievements and stories through an archive housed at Sheffield Archive Library and online via their website.

We worked with them to add a beer element to their archive, and we’d love to add more moving forward; we’re particularly interested to hear from women who worked in Sheffield’s historical brewing industry (quick fact: Sheffield’s first brewery, Rawson & Co, was founded in 1758), so please do get in touch if you can assist.

It’s an opportunity to highlight women in the beer trade whose stories are often untold.

GETTING OUT AND ABOUT

We will also be hosting events under Visit Sheffield’s Festival of the Outdoors banner, so keep an eye out for our running socials helping to showcase the beautiful green spaces we have access to in Sheffield, plus there’ll be local historian Dave Pickersgill, editor of CAMRA’s Sheffield’s Real Heritage Pubs, will be hosting his popular heritage pub and brewery walks. Getting outside has such immense benefits for both your physical and mental wellbeing, so we’re looking forward to seeing people exploring the city once more at this year’s Beer Week!

Sheffield Beer Week takes places 6th-12th March at venues across the city. Head to sheffieldbeerweek.co.uk and follow @sheffbeerweek for the latest news and a regularly updated list of events.




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