BEER Festival organiser Don Jones is celebrating the success of this year's event despite it making a financial loss for the first time in its 19 year history.

But for Mr Jones this year's festival at The Wharf, Devizes was all about securing its future by stopping people bringing in their own alcohol and leaving a huge mess.

He said: "From the customer point of view it was probably the best ever. The message about not bringing in alcohol obviously got through as we had no problems at all. This was going to be a make or break year for us having the beer festival at The Wharf and could have been the end but now we are looking forward to next year."

He believes the draw of England playing in the World Cup semi-final meant that some people who had bought tickets did not turn up. He said: "All of the tickets were sold out in advance. We usually have about 50 people who don't turn up but this year we had 160.

"If you estimate that each person spends about £20 it does make quite a big difference. But the chances of us clashing again with England playing in a World Cup semi-final is pretty remote so we are confident we will back in profit again next year."

He said that as a member of CAMRA he was pleased that the football would have brought much needed extra custom to pubs in the town.

Festival security was stepped up and searches carried out on the gates to make sure no alcohol was taken in and no-one who had over indulged watching the football was allowed inside.

The scorching weather meant that lighter beers were in big demand. The first to sell out was an Elderflower pale ale produced by Saltaire brewery in Yorkshire. Another Yorkshire beer Swoon produced by Revolutions was voted the festival's favourite.

Music played a big part in the day with Devizes Town Band at noon and finished with reggae star Troy Ellis who played into the evening.

Despite the festival not making a profit a donation will still be made to chosen charity the Friends of Bradbury Manor respite home in Devizes. Any unused beer tokens that are handed back to festival organisers are totted up and their worth is donated to charity. Mr Jones expects these will amount to several hundred pounds.