Over the Christmas period, Sheffield and District CAMRA sent a formal response to the recent Sheffield City Council (SCC) ‘Consultation on Citywide Options for Growth.’ This document covers a wide range of aspects of the city. However, it fails to address the key part which our breweries and pubs play in:
(ii) Beer Tourism
(iii) the future development of the City
The document suggests supporting district and local centres in providing a range of shops and services that meet the needs of all groups in society: “services” includes pubs. One of the many challenges, which needs addressing is the continuing loss of pubs, especially in suburban areas, and the detrimental impact this has on community well-being . Hence there is a need for the Plan to include policies which seek to protect valued community pubs. There is a need for more pubs to gain ACV status. In addition, there is a need to allow the continued development of micropubs.
Sheffield includes a growing, number of public houses which, by virtue of their interior, are rated by CAMRA as assets of Regional or National Importance. These pubs deserve support from SCC in a similar manner to the support which is provided to other buildings with historically significant interiors.
By mid-2016, Sheffield is expected to be supporting 19 brewing companies. This is a fast-growing and vibrant part of both the employment and leisure scene. It should also be noted that the ‘Kelham Island Tavern’ is the only pub to have won the annual CAMRA Pub of the Year Award on consecutive occasions. It is short-listed for the 2016 Award.
Sheffield attracts a considerable amount of what could be termed, ‘beer tourism.’ It is surprising that this document does not acknowledge the place of Sheffield as the ‘Beer Capital’ of the U.K. (see recent CAMRA ‘beer city survey’ results). For example, during the recent Steel City Beer Festival, a group of visiting Americans stayed in Sheffield. The focus of their visit was Kelham Island and the 41st.CAMRA Steel City Beer Festival. In addition, there are innumerable day-trips, from diverse parts of the U.K., to sample both Supertram and the excellent beer scene. Sheffield, if the city wished, could easily take second place to Bruges on the European ‘beer holiday’ scene. Sheffield has niche pubs, an excellent, diverse beer-scene and is light-years away from the corporate extravaganza which the Munich Octoberfest has become. In years to come, the ‘Neepsend brewery trail’ could, and should, become a ‘must-see’ attraction.
‘Beer tourism’ is something which, in a vision such as this, SCC should not ignore. It currently brings vastly more income to the City than the annual two-week, Snooker World Championship and is a potential growth area.
– Dave Pickersgill –