PREPARATIONS are now under way for this year’s Worcester Beer Festival, with the marquees going up on the racecourse at Pitchcroft this week.

Thousands of people are expected to come to the event, which will feature hundreds of different beers ciders and perries from across the country.

Brews with exotic names such as Stuck in The Dog House, Laughing Frog, Nettlethrasher and Radgie Gadgie will be on sale.

The festival, organised by the Worcester branch of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, features a main marques, a cider annexe and a music tent.

Pete Thorogood of CAMRA said: “Ticket sales have been a little down this year, probably because of the good weather - I think people wanted to keep the option open of going to the seaside. I did notice that when the rain came a few days ago, there was a surge in sales.”

As a result, there will be a limited number of tickets for the Friday evening session on sale at the door, on a first-come-first- serve basis.

Craig Regan of the Hop Shed Brewery of Suckley, one of this year’s festival sponsors, said: “We will have five different beers on sale at the festival, as well as souvenir gifts.

“This is the first time we have sponsored the festival, which is one of the best-renowned in the country.

“I was here last year and there were people who had come all the way from Liverpool and London, who had come especially for the festival.

Mr Thorogood added: “We know people come for the weekend, staying in hotels or B and Bs, so the festival benefits the city of Worcester as a whole, not just the brewers taking part.”

Another sponsor is city estate agent Shelton and Lines, whose partner, Richard Shelton said: “We’re sponsoring the music tent. I like the idea that our business is part of the community, so we are pleased to be able to put something bac into the community.

“And I’m acutally in one of the bands that is playing in the music tent - Vincent Flatts, which is playing in the music tent on Saturday.”

The festival is open from Friday to Sunday, August 9 to 11, with the first session on the Friday opening to the public at xpl.

The festival is also supporting three local charities: the Midlands Air Ambulance, the Rory the Robot appeal, which is raising £1million for a robotic surgical system at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, primarily for treating patients with prostate cancer, and Worcester Food Bank, which provides three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people when crisis hits.

Mr Thorogood said that the festival would not be possible without the support of volunteers.

He said: “Taking an active part in any beer festival is a great way to meet new people, have fun and learn new things, all while bringing real ale to life for our visitors.”