Running a real ale festival

Get organised early. Know what you are doing well in advance

Advertise, Advertise, Advertise! Promote your festival well in advance inside and outside the pub. Contact your local newspaper and consider use of direct mail

Entertainment on the night can help create a great atmosphere

Offer a variety of food but keep it simple, quick to serve and not too expensive


  • Only order as many ales as you think you can realistically sell. Be cautious if this is your first ale festival
  • Order a range of beer styles. Remember the full range of Marston's permanent and guest ales are available
  • Don't pick a specific ale because it's your favourite. Pick ales that are not available locally so customers always have something new to try

A few more pieces of advice

  • Train your staff so they have a basic knowledge of the ales you will be selling
  • Display tasting notes, prices and ABV's prominently in the pub
  • Consider 'try before you buy' to encourage experimentation by customers
  • After the event evaluate it and consider what you would do differently in future