Festival Local news

Don’t miss our new-style festival for 2021!

Written by Ben Wilkinson


St Albans’ famous annual beer and cider festival will not return to the Alban Arena this year but will instead take place in the city’s pubs, its organisers have announced.

The event, which has historically drawn thousands of ale and cider fans into the city centre each September, will for the first time be run across a number of venues, in collaboration with local publicans.

Organised by the South Hertfordshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the festival was held at the Arena for 24 years up until 2019. A 2020 festival had been planned but this was cancelled after Covid-19 struck and social distancing restrictions were imposed.

While a traditional style event this year was considered, the group of volunteers responsible have decided that encouraging people back into pubs must be the priority in 2021.

Festival organiser Adrian Saunders said:

“The St Albans Beer and Cider Festival has always provided a boost for local pubs by bringing beer lovers into the city – but given how extremely challenging this period has been for the trade, we want to put pubs right at the front and centre of 2021’s event.

“With restrictions having been in place for so long, many people may have simply lost the habit of going out for a pint. We want to help people rediscover their love for our fantastic local pubs by working together to create something extra special for beer and cider fans.

“Safeguarding the future of community pubs is a key part of CAMRA’s mission and, in this 50th anniversary of the Campaign, we want to put that into practice more than ever before. For anyone used to our previous festivals in the Arena, this will be quite different – but it will be just as exciting.”

South Hertfordshire CAMRA is in discussion with a group of St Albans licensees to shape the event, and further details – including participating venues and the beers and ciders due to be showcased – will be announced between now and September.

Organisers hope to return the event to the Alban Arena – where previous years have seen up to 400 real ales, real ciders and bottled beers from overseas on offer – in 2022 and beyond. The event has always relied on a large body of brilliant volunteers from the local area and further afield, and the organisers look forward to welcoming them back.

Updates will be published on the St Albans Beer & Pubs Festival’s pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as at www.stalbansbeerfestival.org.uk.


  • Are there provisional dates for when the festival will take place?

    Has a joint promotion with “Pub in the Park” been considered (running from Friday September 10 to Sunday September 12) or is this viewed as a competing event?

    • Hi Paul. Dates are to be confirmed but we’re looking at around September/October time when the festival would traditionally be held. We are exploring potential collaborations, including with the St Albans Food and Drink Festival.

  • If various pubs hold the festival, are we going to pay the expensive prices the pubs charge, remembering this is to promote camra.

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