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Real ale festival honour bestowed on town’s MP


Monday 6th June 2011 (Andrew Griffiths)

BEER-LOVING Burton MP Andrew Griffiths is to open Britain’s biggest ale festival.

The Tory, new chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, will inaugurate the five-day Great British Beer Festival at London’s Earls Court on August 2.

“It’s a huge honour to be asked to open what is Britain’s biggest and most important brewing event of the year,” Mr Griffiths said.
“This is the single most celebrated event in the brewing calendar and is centred on championing and celebrating all that is great about British beer.”

The MP was invited to open the festival, which last year was attended by 67,000 ale lovers, by its organisers CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale.

He will open the event by giving a 10-minute speech in front of more than 700 licensees and brewery owners.

“I will be speaking about some of the challenges the industry faces and also extolling the virtues of the finest brewing nation in the world.

“This is the single most celebrated event in the brewing calendar and is centred on championing and celebrating all that is great about British beer.”

“This is the showcase for breweries both large and small.

“My only hope is that it will be a Burton ale that wins ‘beer of the year’.” This year’s event will provide a platform for 500 UK beers and 350 from overseas.

A total of 200,000 pints were pulled during the 2010 event, the equivalent of 75 per minute.

Opening the festival will be one of the first key acts Mr Griffiths will perform since he was elected to chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group.

The Conservative has already been active in the role, hosting a dinner for breweries, including Marston’s from Burton, attended by pubs minister Bob Neill within three days of his election.

He has also appeared on the BBC’s Politics Show during an edition in which he talked about beer duty and the need to support the brewing industry.

“My hope is I can be the mouthpiece of beer in order to raise it up the political agenda,” Mr Griffiths said.

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