Wetherspoon has championed real ale since we held our first real-ale festival over 25 years ago, in 1990. This festival has now grown into the Wetherspoon Real-Ale Festival as we know it today: twice a year, we make up to 50 beers available, with the best UK and international brewers featured in pubs the length and breadth of the UK.
But that’s not the whole story, when it comes to real ale:
- Wetherspoon deals with around 400 small brewers which can supply their local JDW pubs directly. Our ‘cellar champions’ scour their local area for the best new brewers, supporting local business.
- Every quarter, we give pubs the choice of 50 beers to stock, as part of our ‘quarterly real ales’. A list of this quarter’s 50 can be found here. Overall, the pubs have access to over 220 beers every year.
- Every year, we launch a selection of Christmas guest ales, featuring festive pints to accompany our Christmas meals.
- In 2013, we launched the international craft brewers’ showcase, bringing around 20 brewers from around the globe to our pumps each year. Two brewers visit the UK each month to brew us their beers – which we then make available nationally.
- We support CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) by offering members real-ale discount vouchers, with around 300 pubs in the 2016 CAMRA Good Beer Guide.
- Our pubs are part of the Cask Marque accreditation programme – checking the quality of cask ales and ensuring that your pint is served perfectly.
It is little wonder that our work with real ale is making headlines, with The Guardian rightly saying that we ‘are a freehouse without which many smaller brewers wouldn’t get time at the bar’.
The Telegraph goes so far as to describe us as ‘a permanent beer festival on the high street’, when including us in its list of the best beer festivals in Britain.