Beer Background
Beer Hall at Hawkshead Brewery #2
Guest Column

It's Magna Carta time for British beer

Added: Tuesday, May 5th 2015

Beer Day Britain

By Jane Peyton

Beer Day Britain is coming – so mark your dance card for 15 June and join the party to celebrate Britain’s national drink.

A major activity on Beer Day Britain is the National Cheers to Beer starting at 12.15pm and going throughout the day and evening. We are aiming to trend on Twitter so if you participate, please post photos and messages on Twitter with the hashtag #CheersBDB. 

The time of 12.15pm relates to the year that Magna Carta was sealed.  Beer Day Britain also shares the same date as the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, which explains why it is on a Monday. Some people have commented negatively about this, saying Monday is a stupid day to have a national beer day. I could have chosen any arbitrary day but I wanted national beer day to be on a date with significance.

Ale is mentioned in clause 35 of Magna Carta and my thinking was that if ale was important enough to be included in one of the most significant legal documents in history, by having Beer Day Britain on the same day it would make the general public realise how important beer is in the national “story” -- both historically and in the modern age, too.

Thankfully there is no law that people cannot drink beer or go to the pub on a Monday! St Patrick’s Day, now inextricably linked with drinking Guinness, is a moveable feast and people do not complain when it falls on a Monday. So if you read about or hear anyone querying why Beer Day Britain is on a Monday perhaps you would explain the significance of 15 June and ask people to stop being negative and instead be happy to celebrate British beer no matter what the day.

Beer Day Britain was started by me as a grassroots initiative with the assistance of brewers Sophie de Ronde and Sara Barton. I am very grateful that so many beer lovers publications, websites (thank you Roger), and several organisations in the beer world are now helping to raise awareness and enthuse people about 15 June.  These organisations include There’s a Beer For That; CAMRA; Society of Independent Brewers;  Independent Family Brewers of Britain; British Hop Association; Association of Multiple Licensed Retailers; British Beer & Pub Association; Cask Marque; Off Licence News.

For suggestions of ways to get involved, please download the information pack from the Beer Day Britain website. On the site you will also find social media contacts and free artwork for the logo and beer mat.  Please would you follow us on Twitter @BeerDayBritain and help get the word out? 

And if you hear of people still being mardy about Monday despite knowing of the Magna Carta connection you could suggest they wait until 2018 when Beer Day Britain will be on a Friday.  But if they do they will miss out of the celebrations this year for our peerless national drink!

Cheers.

*Jane Peyton is the instigator of Beer Day Britain, author of several books including Beer o'Clock and is currently Beer Sommelier of the Year.

Jane Peyton