Raise a glass to local producers at food and drink festival

A packed Northumberland Square during the Proper Food and Drink Festival in North Shields.
A packed Northumberland Square during the Proper Food and Drink Festival in North Shields.

A North Tyneside festival has highlighted the growing popularity of a new wave of drinks producers.

The first Proper Food and Drink Festival of 2017, held in North Shields over the Bank Holiday weekend, featured 60 producers and drew large crowds.

Among the drinks producers was North Shields-based The Three Kings Brewery, which started making beer five years ago. It now supplies pubs in Newcastle, Sunderland and Darlington, as well as North Shields.

Assistant brewer Rober Scott said: “It’s the fun of it, it’s the art and science of it – having the creativity to experiment with different tastes. We all share the passion. At events like this we talk about beer and help each other out.”

Also at the festival was Anne Walsh, of The Fruit Kitchen, who makes fresh fruit cordials, liqueurs and vinegars.

At the moment, she is focusing mainly on making liqueurs to benefit from the current popularity of gin and cocktails.

The next Proper Food and Drink Festival is at Bents Park, South Shields, on May 27, 28 and 29. It is back in North Tyneside at Whitley Bay on Jun 17 and 18, before going to Cramlington for July 29 and 30.

Gateshead’s Saltwell Park stages its first Proper Food and Drink Festival on August 5 and 6, before it makes its debut in Ridley Park, Blyth, the following weekend, August 12 and 13.

Organisers Mark and Shelley Deakin also run the North East Chilli Fest, from June 30 to July 2, at Seaton Sluice.

They are also finalising details for a new event. The Great North Feast will run from August 25 to 28, in Bents Park, South Shields.

Mark said: ““It’s going to be a massive celebration of food and drink but it will also bring together the community for a social eating experience which has never been seen before in the North East. We’ll also be trying to break loads of records.”