ADDITIONS and innovations attracted an increased number of people to the 2019 Woking Beer Festival, arresting the decline in ticket sales of previous years.

Around 3,500 attended the event’s three sessions, which included gin and wine bars for the first time, alongside a huge variety of real ales from Britain’s small regional breweries.

“Following a decline in attendance in previous years, there was an upturn in sales this year,” said festival organiser Ian Johnson. “We were pleased to see that the changes we made for this year seem to have worked.”

The craft gin and selection of wines on offer proved popular at the festival, which was held at Woking Leisure Centre on Friday and Saturday 8-9 November.

Griffiths Brothers Distillery, in Amersham, sold four versions of its cold-distillation spirit and eight wines from around the world were on offer, including an English sparkling wine from East Sussex.

The new bars were extra to the 65 real ales, 19 ciders, eight perries and imported beers chosen by Surrey Hants Borders branch of the Campaign for Real Ale. A pie stall and Indian snacks were another addition, alongside the festival’s traditional barbecue food.

Over the three sessions, Woking Mayor Beryl Hunwicks, fellow councillors and other volunteers sold around £2,000 worth of tickets for a raffle in support of the mayoral charities, the Women’s Support Centre and Your Sanctuary.

For the full story and picture feature, see the 21 November edition of the News & Mail