Craft Beer Rising founders launch new beer festival

Will Hawkes

16 August 2019

The creators of beer festival Craft Beer Rising have announced a new event called BrewLDN, to be held for the first time in February 2020.

BrewLDN will take place at The Old Truman Brewery  home, until now, of Craft Beer Rising  from the 27-29 February. At this stage, the project sounds remarkably similar to Craft Beer Rising: organisers Daniel Rowntree and Chris Bayliss have promised 200 exhibitors at an event with two trade and four consumer sessions, 'showcasing the world’s best brewers, quality street food and a fantastic music programme'.

The event expects to attract 8,000 consumers and 4,000 trade visitors over the three days of the event. 

Craft Beer Rising was criticised for blurring the lines between genuinely independent breweries and brands owned by multinationals. The new event will continue this synthesis, it appears, with a promise to 'champion every corner of the industry', as Rowntree wrote in a post on LinkedIn. 

There will be 'vastly reduced' stands for start-ups, and organisers will be launching an incubator scheme offering stands to outstanding new beer businesses. 

Craft Beer Rising co-founder Chris Bayliss
Craft Beer Rising co-founder Chris Bayliss

The new event has raised serious doubts over the future of Craft Beer Rising, which is now owned by C&C Group, the company that produces Magners, Bulmers and Tennent’s. The organisers of BrewLDN have stated that theirs will be the only beer event held at the Old Truman’s Brewery in 2020, meaning CBR would need to find a new venue. C&C Group was contacted for comment via email and telephone but had not responded at the time of publication. 

In 2017 Rowntree and Bayliss sold Elastic  which owned Craft Beer Rising  to Matthew Clark, which was subsequently bought by Conviviality. When Conviviality went into administration, it was picked up by C&C. Rowntree and Bayliss left Elastic in March 2019 and it has since been wound up, with all staff made redundant, according to Rowntree.

Rowntree has spent the past few months visiting other beer festivals, including GBBF, London Craft Beer Festival and the Craft Beer Conference in Denver, to hone his vision for the new event. 

'We want to champion every corner of the industry, while keeping on top of innovation and what’s coming next  not just the latest beer style, but unique brewing techniques, new technology and new ingredients,' he said. 'We want to demystify trends, talk about CBD beer, healthy alcohol, low/no and fruit beers/radlers. We want to provoke an open discussion within the industry: we can’t stop progression. Big will always want to buy cool. That’s the capitalist cycle within which we operate, so let's embrace it.'

BrewLDN will aim to reflect the creative, open-minded culture that modern beer prides itself on. 'Innovation in brewing and discovering new tastes and trends are central to our ethos as is championing diversity and sustainability within the industry,' said Bayliss. 'Craft Beer Rising was an incredible journey and something the team are all very proud of. We are keen to take all of those learnings to deliver the ultimate trade and consumer show in the UK.'

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