|The Otley Beer Festival started out as a way of raising money for the upkeep of All Saints Parish Church. Much of the present church building was in existence by 1500 but the oldest parts of it date from the 11th and 12th centuries. Some alterations and additions were made to the church by the Victorians but, substantially, All Saints is a medieval building. The stonework of the large east window, for example, dates from the late 15th century whilst the glass came from the St Helen’s Glass Company in 1851.
Maintaining such an ancient building costs a lot of money. It is difficult for a relatively small congregation to find all the resources needed to keep this building, which is of great local and national importance, in good shape. Otley Parish Church doesn’t get any money for this work on a regular basis from any outside bodies though grants have been obtained for specific projects.
The annual Beer Festival is an important source of funds to pay for maintenance such as combating dry rot and doing repairs to the roof and other stonework. Up to 2005 all the proceeds from the Beer Festival went to the Parish Church but, in 2005, the Parochial Church Council unanimously agreed that they wanted to share the money raised with other local charities.