A sustainable Beer Festival

20 Aug 2023

Leeds International Beer Festival was one of the first in the UK to push the art of craft beer production front and centre. Celebrating the very best UK and international beer in and around Leeds Town Hall, the city’s most iconic building, made the festival even more impressive. Over the years we’ve tweaked and adapted the event to give brewers and audiences one of the best beer festival experiences in the country. Everything we’ve done to date however, pales into insignificance, as we embark on our next big challenge, which is to make LIBF carbon neutral. This isn’t going to happen overnight and the complexities of being more sustainable at our new site, Kirkstall Abbey, makes this even more challenging. But it’s crucial that we do this, and we want to encourage everyone involved in the festival to do their bit. We intend to be carbon neutral in the next three years – this means that, along with the festival, the brewers, food stalls, all the supply chains and indeed audiences need to be taking action to help us achieve our goal. Stage 1 will see the festival take some big steps in this direction as part of this year’s event. Here are some of the things we’re doing:

  • There’s no power at the Abbey so we must supply our own. In 2022 this consisted of diesel generators which provided all our power needs, including lighting, power for the brewers and food stalls, and all the AV needed for live music and DJ sets. In 2023 we’re looking at various options, including Low Carbon Fuel and batteries to provide the power we need, which will also include the refrigeration of all the beer on site.
  • LED lighting will be installed across the entire festival site.
  • We’ll be using strengthened glassware on site – not only will this reduce breakages, but it will also be a lot more sustainable than the plastic we had to use as part of last year’s event.
  • Our promotional print which includes posters, and the official programme guide is made from FSC accredited paper. FSC paper is fully sustainable, where the paper we use can be traced back to the forest it came from. For every tree that is cut down, many more are planted in its place. FSC prioritises the preservation of forests and the biodiversity of these environments.
  • Even the large promotional banners featured around the Abbey are more sustainable than the ones we’ve used before. Each one is made from polyester, and although it is not completely eco-friendly, it is PVC and phthalate-free and it has a much lower carbon footprint in its manufacture than PVC banners.
  • For the 2nd consecutive year, the festival will be partnering with First Bus, one of the UK’s largest bus operators. It only takes 15/20 mins to get to the Abbey from the city centre and all the buses are wheelchair accessible and DDA compliant. First Bus no longer buy any new diesel buses and are committed to operating an entire zero-emission bus fleet by 2035. By March 2024, 15% of their UK bus fleet, that’s over 600 buses, will be zero-emission. By using public transport to get you to and from the festival you’ll be doing your bit to help the festival be more sustainable. Did you know, one full double-decker First Bus has the capacity to remove up to 75 cars off our roads!

These actions are only the start, after the festival we’ll be reporting back on the impact these changes have made and what we plan to do next.