Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival draws ale-lovers to Cardiff

Beer Festival LogoThe Western Mail and South Wales Echo are reporting that beer lovers from all over Wales and Britain have been flocking to Cardiff for the annual Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival.

Up to 6,500 enthusiasts are expected to visit the capital’s Motorpoint Arena to sample up to 200 different real ales as well as 60 ciders and a selection of foreign beers during the event this weekend.

Many of Wales’ 60 independent brewers are running stands at the event, while the festival’s non-Welsh beers are this year sourced from Yorkshire.

Visitors can sample beers from brewers including Otley, Bullmastiff, Vale of Glamorgan and Felinfoel, while Wales’ largest real ale brewery Brains is offering a range of beers including tipples from its newly-opened craft brewery.

Bill Dobson, head brewer at Brains, said: “The whole concept behind the craft brewery is that we have got a very large production plant geared up to producing our core range of beers in relatively large volume, therefore innovating and trying different things has been difficult for us but has been something that we have been very keen to do.”

The Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival is open 11am-11pm on Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena. Admission is £6.



Welsh Wine on the Menu

Welsh Wine Week 2012Welsh Wine Week 2012 runs from 2-10 June, and to mark the event, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries & European Programmes, Alun Davies raised a glass at Ancre Hill Vineyard in Monmouth.

Following the launch of the Action Plan for the Welsh Drinks Industry, Alun Davies is continuing to work towards securing a more sustainable, profitable and high profile Welsh drinks industry and is championing the quality of home produced wine.

The Deputy Minister said, “In terms of quality and potential, Welsh wine is certainly making a name for itself at home and abroad. However, I know that the sector has great potential to grow and I remain committed to strengthening the industry and maximising its already extreme economic importance to Wales.”

Alun Davies met with multiple International award winning vineyard owner Richard Morris to see first hand the challenges the industry are facing, and the opportunities available.

Mr Morris, who has previously demonstrated his support for the action plan and the development of the Welsh wine industry, is in charge of the largest vineyard in Wales producing 25% of Welsh wine. The business was formed in 2005 and the Ancre Hill Estates vineyard is one of only two biodynamic vineyards in the UK, with only approximately 200 worldwide.

As well as Ancre Hill, a number of Welsh vineyards are opening to the public and hosting special events. Among those taking part are: Parva Farm, Penarth Vineyard and Wernddu Organics.

Further information can be found at


Beekeeping A-Team in place to preserve honeybees in Wales

Honey BeeA new team are in place in Wales with the task of raising awareness of the threat to honeybees’ existence and the devastating impact their demise could have on people around the world.

Colin Keyse, Lucy O’Donnell and Holly Pinkney have been recruited to run the National Beekeeping Centre Wales (NBCW), a groundbreaking project featuring a unique visitor centre within Conwy’s new Bodnant Welsh Food development. The three will play a lead role in the project’s ambitions; encouraging bee sustainability through beekeeping, habitat preservation and development, and education through schools, community groups, and visitors and the public via the interpretation centre, apiary and education facility, which is due to open in July.

As project manager, Colin will ensure the initiative remains sustainable beyond its funding period and becomes a centre of excellence for promoting, supporting and enhancing beekeeping in Wales. Previously involved with several Welsh enterprises focusing on the environment and sustainability, a desire to work closer to his Bethesda home prompted Colin to apply for the NBCW position. “This is a really interesting role and challenge and I hope my previous experience will benefit such a worthwhile project,” he said.

“Our aim is to make people more aware of the threats to bee colonies, pollination, and what this means to us. It’s a high-level issue we can’t ignore. As well as a shop window for beekeeping matters, we will work with community groups, education, businesses and high quality food producers on developing environmental sustainability, within which bees and other pollinators play such a critical role.”

In addition to contributing to sustainable local food production, it is estimated that through pollination, bees increase crop and fruit yields by up to 20 per cent. In economic terms, this could be worth as much as £200m to the UK economy every year.

The honeybee faces a series of threats, however, and colonies are being decimated. Without the work of commercial and amateur beekeepers, their survival is in jeopardy.

The NBCW interpretation centre aims to attract more than 25,000 visitors a year. Once open in July, the project will also feature a “hands-on” apiary with training courses and support for important beekeeping research. Supporting the project is a new bee-friendly garden at Ty Hyll and an education centre at Henfaes Research Farm, a Bangor University facility at Abergwyngregyn.

Operated through a non-profit-making Community Interest Company, all income is invested back into scheme.

Find out more at


Golygfa Gwygfa to launch food co-operative scheme in Llanrwst

North Wales Weekly News are reporting that a new food co-operative scheme to help people access quality, affordable fresh fruit and vegetables is launched in Llanrwst on 15 June, with funding from the Welsh Government.

“The food co-operative is a system through which people can access affordable, fresh fruit, vegetables and salad at a community venue, run on a not-for-profit basis by volunteers.” explained North Wales Food Development Worker Karen Robertson.

“We will have copies of our popular supermeals booklets available at the launch and samples of the produce on display to help generate orders- priced at £3 per bag. The food co-operative will run weekly on Wednesday afternoons from Wednesday, June 20 between 1pm to 3pm,” continued Robertson.

Rosie Evans from Golygfa Gwygfa said the group are delighted to be involved in the scheme. She said, “Although you get what you are given with the fruit and veg packs it’s a great way for everyone to make sure they are getting their quota of fresh fruit and vegetable at an affordable level and a good quality. We will also have recipe suggestions for people to follow online and in the form of cards to help them make the most of their fruit and veg packs.
The online recipes will also include what ingredients are needed from the food we know we have available each week and it will change from week to week.”

The food co-operative is launched at 1pm on 15 June, and more information can be found at