Hinckley and Bosworth

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Market Bosworth Rail Ale Festival 2023

Market Bosworth Rail Ale Festival
Friday 21st - Sunday 23rd July 2023

Report from the Jackie Wallis, the bfo for the Rail Ale Festival

The Festival seemed to go well, but it appeared that numbers were down a bit compared to last year, as unfortunately it rained on Saturday. (Last year was mainly dry.)

Dr Busker attracted a good crowd on both evenings. The Battlefield Railway asked him to perform in the marquee this year, resulting in the glasses, wine and cider joining the beers and food in the Goods Shed.

This seemed to be a good move as it gave more space for the food, it also was easier to hear the customers, and there was more seating in the marquee.

The railway found there was an increase in food sales especially in the evenings. There was no beer on the train this year, although the griddle car was up and running, it was set up for the food nights so not really suited to public use of the bar.

Local MP Dr Luke Evans attended on Friday and spoke at length with Tracy, the Branch Chair, myself and the Battlefield Railway team.

Nearly all the Prosecco and Pimms, and 3 dozen bottles of wine were consumed, but not quite as much as last year. The ciders that sold fastest were both fruit ones- WooWoo which lasted 10 hours on Saturday and Rhubarb and Pink Grapefruit at 11 hours on Friday. By close on Sunday there were 2 full boxes and a few part boxes left from the 27 we started with.

We started with 74 different beers from 31 breweries Only one ran out on Friday night which was the pin of Dark Side of the Moose. Just after lunch on Saturday the Festival Special which was Melon Collie from Buswells and Tollgate's Hackney Blonde were the first firkins to sell out. Again, getting pins of dark beer worked well as there was choice but not volume, and the last one ran out on Saturday at 9.45.

The change in layout altered the selling pattern of the beers. Instead of the ones nearest the door selling first, they bought beers from all over the place, so that we opened on Sunday with a large choice of cider and beer.

Approximately 3,630 of the 4,932 pints were sold which was 73%. Quite a bit down on last year. 29% sold on Friday and 40% on Saturday. Of the remaining beers probably about 800 pints was saleable beer before you get down to the dregs - such a waste to have to pour it away. There seems to be no logic to why some sell well, and others don't.

If decanting beer into smaller containers is not allowed next year due to the change in the duty rules today, we will certainly have to cut the beer and cider order next time.

I would like to thank everyone that volunteered from our branch, from elsewhere and the Battlefield Line volunteers. Without all of you the festival could not take place. Special thanks go to those who gave up so much of their time beforehand to organise the festival: David and Tracy for sourcing the beers, Alban for the ciders, Colin on membership, Peter as Treasurer, Stuart, and Rob for getting the sponsorship, Tracy and Norman for doing the cellaring, Michelle for H&S and lastly John for doing the staffing and keeping generally keeping me motivated. Volunteer Thank You Trip is booked for Sunday 10th September to Oxfordshire – list available for sign-up. So that's Rail Ale done for another year. We have some feedback slips if you would like to fill one in and we will consider the replies at the washup meeting, and report back next time. There are just 2 questions: 1. What do you think went well? 2. If you had to do the festival again tomorrow, what would you do differently? A full financial summary will be made available once all receipts and invoices are processed

Jackie Wallis, Beer Festival Organiser

The Branch thanks Jackie for her hard work and outstanding commitment in organising a very successful Beer Festival

Photos courtesy of Market Bosworth Rail Ale Facebook