Did you know Harrogate has a thriving beer scene and just how strong independent scene is

Harrogate business leaders say the first-ever Harrogate Beer Week will not only boost the town’s economy but serve up a new perspective on what Harrogate has to offer.

By Graham Chalmers
Thursday, 16th September 2021, 4:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th September 2021, 5:01 pm
Harrogate Beer Week founder Rachel Auty.
Harrogate Beer Week founder Rachel Auty.

Running from September 20-26, the Beer Week will be launched at Cold Bath Clubhouse next Monday - and is already exceeding expectations.

Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce President Martin Gerrard said: “After the constraints of Covid, it’s great to see events like Harrogate Beer Week taking place within the town.

Sign up to our daily Harrogate Advertiser Today newsletter

“Harrogate is home to an impressive number of well-established large breweries and a growing number of smaller, micro-breweries, and together with plenty of bars and pubs, they are helping put the wider district on the craft beer map as well as bringing employment.

“By bringing people into the town, it will help boost the economy, which is something that is worth raising a glass to.”

Harrogate Beer Week may be the first event of its type to be held in the district by the town's vibrant independents, but this week-long, celebration of Harrogate beer, local brewing heritage, and beer in the community is no modest ‘rookie’.

In total Harrogate Beer Week’s creator Rachel Auty, a Harrogate-based marketing and events specialist, has built up a programme of 40 events involving all of the key players in the area’s thriving beer and brewery scene.

But Rachel, who runs her own PR and event agencies - Taste and Raucous Agency Limited - as part of her day job, believes Harrogate Beer Week means more than just putting on some great events for craft beer enthusiasts.

Rachel said: “The craft beer boom is the biggest thing to hit brewing and drinking for more than a generation.

“This brand new event will be a spotlight on the very best of what’s on offer in Harrogate.

“Ultimately I would love to see it become an annual flagship event that is proven to deliver direct benefit to the town centre, independent beer and food businesses, and will have a notable positive impact on the wider town, including retail, accommodation providers, and leisure facilities.”

A sign that Harrogate’s reputation is greater than some may realise can be judged by the nature of the events themselves.

Along with the Tap takeovers and beer tours, the tasting sessions and live music, Harrogate Beer Week will see five high-profile UK beer special guests coming to Harrogate in person for a series of talks.

It all adds up to an event which its main sponsors, Harrogate Business Improvement District, believe is the real deal.

Harrogate BID Manager Matthew Chapman said: “We are delighted to be the headline sponsor of the first Harrogate Beer Week.

“The programme that Rachel Auty has put together looks absolutely fantastic, and it’s great to see so many town-centre venues hosting events throughout the week.

“It’s a terrific way to showcase the local craft ale industry, and this event will no doubt lure real ale lovers from a wide geographical area to our town - and not just at the weekend.”

A truly Harrogate-wide celebration of our beer, local brewing heritage, and beer in the community, the cast of Harrogate Beer Week includes pubs, breweries, artists, musicians, cafes and restaurants, from the smallest to the biggest.

The Little Ale House, Major Tom’s, Starling, Harrogate Tap, Rooster’s brewery, Turning Point, Cold Bath Clubhouse, Blind Jack’s, The Disappearing Chin, The Tap on Tower Street, and Harrogate Brewing Co are all popular names which have become well known to beer enthusiasts over the last ten years, in particular.

That decade of great change and growing success is fully reflected in Harrogate Beer Week’s programme of special events hosted at bars, brewery taps, and eateries across Harrogate.

And the whole shebang will culminate in a big beer weekend in the town centre.

Rachel Auty hopes Harrogate’s independent beer scene can learn from the story of bigger cities.

Next Monday’s launch event at Cold Bath Clubhouse will hear from special guest Jules Gray, who founded Sheffield Beer Week in 2015 and also spearheaded Indie Beer Feast - Sheffield’s craft beer festival and Indie Beer Shop Day.

The hope is Harrogate Beer Week is simply the start of a new chapter in the town’s rise to North Yorkshire’s craft beer capital.

Rachel Auty said: “Having lived in the town all my life I know the place well, and I have great links to our indie pubs, bars and breweries.

“Harrogate now boasts five great independent breweries within the HG postcode.

“In a way, Harrogate Beer Festival is not meant to be a beer festival in the traditional sense.

“It’s not just about fun or, even, education.

“It’s intended to bring something new to the town and go beyond the norms of perceived ‘brand Harrogate’.”