Vegan Beer Fest UK says goodbye
London Vegan Beer Fest was created back in 2013 because the UK capital didn’t have a lot of large scale socialising events targeted just at vegans. Actually, outside of events such as VegfestUK and the Animal Aid Fayre, there weren’t many ways I can recall to celebrate with a vegan beer in your hand.
Following on from a visit to the original Los Angeles Vegan Beer Festival (created and run by Nic Adler and Quarrygirl), I was inspired to create something similar for London that was completely plant-based and focussed around beer.
It started as a small garden party in Bethnal Green for 200 people and over the next six years grew into one of London’s biggest annual vegan parties, welcoming thousands of revellers.
In addition, Vegan Beer Fest UK events were launched in Manchester, Glasgow, Sheffield, and Coventry.
But here we are in 2019 and the vegan landscape has changed drastically. No longer is a moderately-sized vegan event with curated food, beer, and wine offerings such a unique occurrence.
Just as Hackney Downs Vegan Market found itself unwanted due to the mainstreaming of veganism, Vegan Beer Fest UK events started to feel a bit superfluous in the current climate.
People can buy vegan beer in every single shop, supermarket, and pub in the country while High Street restaurants have made veganism more than normal and common. Large scale music festivals are even showcasing entire vegan food and drink sections.
Josh and I are extremely proud of the events we put together and hosted over the past six years and are sad to be wrapping them up, but it is important to be realistic about how the climate for these types of events has changed.
Vegan Beer Fest UK events are not planned for 2019. Who knows? Maybe you will see them return in a different format in the future.
Josh and I would like to personally thank a number of people who helped make these events fun and valuable community happenings over the past half decade.
Much love to the businesses, breweries, and food traders who traded with our events around the UK. Some of you travelled great distances to be a part of these special days and all of you worked tirelessly to prove that veganism does not mean something substandard.
We have eternal gratitude to our host venues. Thank you for taking a chance on us and giving our little vegan beer events safe and special homes over the years.
I can’t express how important the people are who helped us stage and run the events. Some of you were paid and some of you helped simply out of the goodness of your hearts. All of you understood the value these events added to our community. Thank you.
Follow Your Heart has been associated with our events for several years and this California company specialising in vegan cheeses and salad dressings (including the legendary Vegenaise) made our events possible financially. If you saw some of the margins we were running on most years, you wouldn’t underestimate the importance of Follow Your Heart‘s support. We send all of our love and gratitude to them. They are a big company that truly cares.
I send personal and heartfelt thanks to my dear friend Ricardo who has worked on the event design and posters for several years. He is an extremely talented designer and helped us forge a unique personality for Vegan Beer Fest UK events. His ideas will live on in the hundreds of t-shirts and tote bags bought by attendees during the last few years.
These events would have been impossible without all of the wonderful people who attended each year. Thank you for supporting us and for partying alongside us. You drank beer, you devoured street food, and you helped us raise approximately £1,000 for our featured charity Isla Urbana (securing clean and safe water for people in Mexico) through our Charioke rooms at the beer events. We couldn’t drag people away from those amazing charity karaoke sessions!
Lastly, I want to state just how grateful I am to Josh for the support he showed my initial idea of launching a beer festival. In addition, he needs to be thanked for the ridiculous amount of work he put into making these events happen each year. There were early mornings, long days, car journeys from one end of the UK to the other to meet deadlines, karaoke hosting duties, clean ups, stall building tasks, door and ticket collecting duties, and probably about two dozen more jobs that I can’t recall.
Honestly, running these events on our own was emotionally and physically challenging like few experiences I’ve had.
Josh did them all alongside me because he believed, as I did, that we were making special places for people to feel celebrated in their vegan lifestyle.
Vegan Beer Fest UK events were our way of helping to improve outcomes for non-human animals by making people feel good about their compassionate choices.
I look to the future with memories of these events firmly and fondly in my heart.