Tuckers Maltings opened to the public in 1991 and one of the first ideas was to hold a beer festival to give publicity to the visitor attraction. After much planning it was realised that this would not be an easy venture if it was going to be on a large scale.
Tuckers approached Carl Beeson of Summerskills Brewery to see if SIBA South-West would be interested in running a beer festival to exhibit their beers.
A committee was formed, chaired by Carl and over 20 years later it is still running. Various brewers have taken their turn to be chairman and each year the original format has been followed but with gradual changes to make improvements and to handle the increasing number of beers and customers.
There were 67 beers at the first festival and this increased year by year until there were more than 300 about five years ago. However it became clear that the more beers there were, the less space there was for customers so the number has been limited to about 280 in the last two or three years.
The festival has been helped by Teignbridge Council who allow a marquee on the park alongside the Maltings which has given extra space as the event keeps increasing in popularity.
All the beers are judged in a competition which is held on the Thursday before opening to the public. The number of classes has increased over the years and to win an award is a great help to a brewer’s marketing.
The festival has always been run on a voluntary basis by the brewers, with great help from CAMRA, and provided there are always enough volunteers the future looks good for the festival to continue for many years to come.