The Robin Hood Nottingham Beer Festival isn’t far off the biggest beer festival in Europe*. However, as an asset for the city that should put Nottingham on the international map, it is under promoted, under utilised and hugely under valued, which for me shows a serious lack of ambition.
For a city of our size, in the country that invented beer, hosting the largest selection of beers at the festival is something we should be singing and dancing about. If you talk to the organisers they will tell you that tickets sell out every year, and they often run out of beer due to its popularity, but the Beer Festival has the potential to be so much more for the city.
If groups of tourists fly from all over the world to Munich for Oktoberfest, why can the same not happen for Nottingham? There should be greater integration between airlines and hotels to offer weekend travel deals. There should be a pan-European PR and marketing campaign to sell the festival. There should be smaller, free beer festivals all over the city so the celebrations are not restricted to the west of Maid Marian Way. It should last a week(!) And most importantly, pubs and bars should be brought together to encourage special offers and entertainment, so that businesses all over the city feel the financial benefits. This has started to take place with the Festival Fringe Fortnight, but it should be more, it should take over the whole of Nottingham.
Could we not twin ourselves with Munich for two weeks of the year, to celebrate both of the beer festivals?
We as a city seem petrified of being known for ‘a good night out’, and I’m not sure why. We have a great selection of bars, pubs, clubs, live music venues and restaurants, and we run them well. We should be encouraging and promoting our strengths, not hiding them away.
Aside from tourists reading up on a certain scoundrel with a fetish for dressing in green, and fashion students aiming for an A in the history of lace, there is very little that people outside of the UK will be able to tell you about Nottingham. We need to put ourselves out there. Having Nottingham as a destination city for one week of the year will bring in leisure and retail spend and allow us to encourage repeat trips. Also, is there any better thing to be known for than having great beer!
P/S – I love the beer festival. I have half-print glasses going back to 2009. It could just be so much more.
*For anyone that challenges this, lager isn’t beer.