The good folk at Treasure lift the lid on just how much beer UK festivals get through – and how it all gets there.

If you’re thinking about festival season, the first thing that comes into your head will probably be music. Right? We reckon so The classic sets you’ve seen and the ones yet to come. 

But what’s the second thing? 

Well, how about beer? We think it just about shades bucket hats and traumatic toilets in terms of being synonymous with the quintessential festival experience.

After all, is there a more iconic festival image than that of slightly sunburnt people, clutching golden pints of beer while hollering along to their favourite bands as the sun sets behind the stage? Even if you swap the sun for pouring rain and gloopy mud, the ‘clutching golden pint’ bit remains a constant.

But, have you ever thought about how that beer got there? Or how much of it a big festival actually needs across a weekend? We wouldn’t blame you if you haven’t –  but since we’re on the subject, it’s definitely something worth finding out about. Not least because the stats and quantities involved are mind boggling.

How about this one to start: in 2023, Glastonbury ordered the equivalent of 1.2 million pints of beers. There are 53 THOUSAND pints in a tanker – meaning that 19 are needed just for the beer. It’s a liquid traffic jam of quite epic proportions! And while Glasto might need the most beer, there’s plenty of other festivals with their own hordes of thirsty punters.

But of course, getting those tankers from A to B – especially with such a special cargo – is no mean feat. And this is where we go full ‘logistics’ in the sense that’s it’s not just about driving the tankers from A to B (although that in itself is a very specialised skill), but all the planning and organisation required to get it where it needs to go, exactly when it’s needed, while protecting the quality of the beer. We’ve been talking to festival booze supplier specialists, Treasure and, as well as providing all those excelling stats about how much we all drink at festivals, they’ve also given us the lowdown on how it’s achieved. 

The tankers themselves need to be specialised. They are compartmentalised so as to allow vast quantities of different beers to be transported at once and to make it easier to unload each beer to the right bar onsite. Perhaps even more importantly, the beer needs to be kept at the right temperature so as not to spoil – not easy when you’re heading into fields in the height of summer. Each tanker is insulated, and then chilled as much as it can be prior to transportation, and then the job relies on getting the beer where it needs to go as quickly as possible. After all, the temperature control relies solely on the insulation (rather than active refrigeration) so the whole operation needs to be as speedy as possible. 

Oh, and in case you were wondering, these specialised tankers don’t come cheap. Each one costs about £125K, meaning that it’s just as well those festival beer orders are so huge! 

So if you do find yourself sipping on a beer in a field this festival season, maybe take a moment to marvel at how it came to be. And raise a plastic cup to all the feats of planning, technology, skill that it’s taken along the way to make it possible.