MUNICH’S Oktoberfest has inspired a new socially distant online beer festival in Solihull this month – Locktober Fest.
It is the brainchild of of Knowle and Dorridge Round Table, who have partnered with Silhill Brewery for the month-long event.
Beer-lovers can sample a selection of Solihull-brewed beer from the comfort of their own homes while raising funds and awareness for Hampton-in-Arden-based mental health charity, The Cameron Grant Memorial Trust.
Organiser Mike Liddington said: “We had to write off the idea about another attempt at a beer festival this year so with home deliveries growing we decided to do a virtual beer festival.
“Silhill Brewery is one of our supporters so after a few conversations with the owner Mark Gregory, we hatched a plan.”
Around 150 of the limited number Locktober Fest packs of craft beer, with 12 500ml bottled ales including Hop Star IPA and Blonde Star pale ale, have already been sold.
Packs, which cost £26.95 each, also contain two pint glasses from The Round Table and drinks coasters bearing an awareness message from the charity: ‘Feeling low? Don’t bottle it up. There is always someone you can talk to.’
The Cameron Grant Memorial Trust provides free, 24/7 crisis support via text across the UK to anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts, abuse or assault, self-harm, bullying or relationship issues (text CAM to 85258). It was set up in memory of Cameron, who suffered from depression for seven years, before taking his own life at 21-years-old.
Part of the proceeds from each Locktober Fest packs will go directly to The Round Table to be distributed to local causes, as well as helping to raise awareness for this Solihull charity.
Mike said: ‘With so many people having to isolate, and spend more time alone this year than ever before, these coasters might prompt someone to open up when they are most desperate, and start the process of getting help.”
Silhill Brewery created and is delivering the Locktober Fest packs, which can be ordered through Knowle and Dorridge Round Table on kandd.org.uk
The month-long event will include an online tasting event hosted by the Catherine-de-Barnes-based brewer.
Silhill Brewery’s director Mark Gregory said: “We are so proud to be involved with this – the way The Round Table has stepped up to the mark to help the local community, and that includes local businesses, and its local brewer, is incredible.
“Community is so important at the moment, and this is a great example of everyone working together in the best sense.”
The Round Table’s annual beer festival at Knowle’s British Legion was cancelled in March this year due to the pandemic, which led to a loss in revenue normally donated to charity.
But Locktober Fest is the second time The Round Table has come up with a new way of raising community spirits – their Santa Sleigh came out six months ahead of schedule earlier this summer just as lockdown was easing, with Santa sporting an Hawaiian shirt and shorts. The first-ever Summer Santa raised more than £20,000 worth of food for The Bethany Food Bank, in partnership with local charity SVP.
Mike said: “We were astounded by the amount of food that was donated by the people of Knowle, Dorridge, Bentley Heath and Hockley Heath over seven Saturdays in June and July.
“We were grateful for Santa to come out of hibernation early to demonstrate some summer swagger, and his unexpected appearance was very well received by adults as well as kids.”
The Round Table is hoping to again collect food and raise money for good causes when Santa returns this Christmas.