Derby Beer Con was launched by Tom Ainsley in 2017, within an insane eight month period during which he also launched Neon Raptor and the Suds and Soda Bottleshop/Taproom. The fact that all three businesses are thriving six years later is a testament to Tom’s attention to detail and passion for hard work!
The Festival is currently on it’s third home in Derby City Centre, with the latest venue being the most central and most suitable. The Chocolate Factory is a huge repurposed industrial building split into three long interconnected halls with a large outdoor courtyard.
On a warm September evening the courtyard was the place to be, surrounded by enticing aromas from the excellent selection of food trucks.
The Brewery list leaned heavily into the local East Midlands scene, with friends of TWICB such as Pentrich, Neon Raptor and Liquid Light being joined by a number of less familar names (to us!) including Firerock, Little Brewing, Shiny and Bang the Elephant. In addition there was a handful of UK favourites including Vault City, Pomona Island, Staggeringly Good and Tartarus. Rounding out the list were some brilliant guests from the Continent including Nerdbrewing, Arpus, Coolhead and De Struise.
Another feature we really appreciated was the large format beer menu that was distributed to all guests, which allowed us to plan our drinking at the table, before heading into the breach in search of the next beer!
In summary, this was definitely one of the highlights of the 2023 Festival Season for us, and a must-attend in future years.