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Camra Kent Beer Festival 2018 forced to move out of Merton Farm, Canterbury

By Jodie Nesling

The Kent Beer Festival is likely to be scaled back this year as organisers fight to secure a new venue with just six months to go.

Merton Farm in Nackington has hosted the event for the last 30 years but last week the venue pulled the plug, leaving the committee seeking a new home.

But organiser Andy Mitchell says he is confident of finding a suitable site and that the 44th festival will go ahead.

Fans flocked to previous beer festivals staged at Merton Farm in Canterbury.

“We are in talks with other venues and will keep everyone updated,” he said. “We want to keep the same dates of July 19-21 as many people, including staff, take time off to attend. We do not want to let anybody down.

“It will probably be scaled down locally. I have been in talks with one venue but cannot reveal where until details have been finalised.

“There will be better facilities for volunteers and a better experience – just not at that farm.”

The hugely popular festival attracts about 8,000 visitors a year, showcasing more than 200 ales and ciders, including beer from Kent breweries, plus food stalls and live music.

Friends chat over a beer at a previous Kent Beer Festival held at Merton Farm in Canterbury

Merton Farm has hosted a range of events including the hugely popular Lounge on the Farm festival, but ended the relationship with organisers in 2015.

Mr Mitchell has worked at the Camra Kent Beer Festival for 25 years and took over as organiser four years ago.

He said : “I have no idea why Merton Farm does not want to do it this year but it has not come as a surprise.”

Merton Farm spokesman Ed Houme declined to comment.

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