Author Pete Brown has been named Beer Writer of the Year 2016 at the British Guild of Beer Writers’ annual awards ceremony, staged on 1 December in London. The Award represents a ‘hat trick’ for Brown, who also took the title in 2012 and 2009.
Beer Writer of the Year is the top award in the Guild’s annual competition for writing about beer and pubs, which this year received more than 150 entries across nine categories. Brown won two categories – for the best writing in trade press and in national media – on his way to the top prize.
Breandán Kearney, last year’s Beer Writer of the Year and chairman of judges for the 2016 competition, said, “The Awards recognise the UK’s most talented communicators about beer and pubs across a range of channels from books to blogs, press to podcasts. Judges had difficult decisions to make in choosing the finalists and winners from a field of high-quality entries.
“We’re delighted that prizes have been awarded not just to established beer writers, but to new, less-known communicators, as each entry is judged on its merits and its ability to further the Guild’s mission of extending public knowledge and appreciation of beer and pubs”.
He added, “Pete Brown is a worthy Beer Writer of the Year. Whatever he’s writing about, he is unfailingly authoritative, not just about beer or pubs, but the wider world in which they sit and the history that has shaped them. He has a talent for finding the most interesting nuggets in material, and spinning them to create stories that won’t just appeal to the already-converted, but which will pull in a broader audience.”
One of this year’s judges, Dave Myers, of Hairy Bikers fame, said, “There is some seriously good writing about beer and pubs out there and discovering it was a delight. The best writers combine a sure grasp of their subject matter with a talent for storytelling, so as a reader you want to taste the beer they’ve drunk, visit the pub they’ve been to or meet the brewer they’ve interviewed.
“Many of the winners and finalists are producing outstanding work that deserves to reach a wider audience and I hope that the added recognition from the Awards helps to secure this.”
Kearney and Myers were joined on the judging panel by: Rebecca Smithers, consumer affairs correspondent at The Guardian: Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and Roger Ryman, head brewer at St Austell Brewery.
The Awards ceremony also saw the Guild’s Brewer of the Year title go to Richard Westwood, MD of Marston’s Brewing Company. Westwood has worked in the brewing industry for 40 years, rising from lab technician at Wolverhampton & Dudley to take the helm at the UK’s largest brewer of cask ales.
Presenting the Award, Guild chairman Tim Hampson said, “Richard is committed to producing classic beers such as Pedigree and Banks’s Mild, while retaining the traditions of the five breweries owned by Marston’s. In addition, he has encouraged the development of innovative new beers such as the company’s Revisionist and single hop ranges. He has worked in collaboration with other brewers and is constantly looking for new ways to ensure all beers are served as brewers want them to be served.
“But more than this, Richard cares about beer drinkers. He has empowered consumers by encouraging them to have a greater understanding of the importance of the ingredients of beer.”
The winners and runners up in each category were announced at the Guild’s annual dinner, this year held at the Park Lane Hotel on Piccadilly. More than 200 guests enjoyed a four-course dinner prepared by the hotel’s head chef Andrew Bennett, with each dish accompanied by a specially selected beer: Bad Seed Brewery’s Hefeweizen; Beavertown’s Black Betty IPA, Serpent from Thornbridge Brewery and Ampleforth Abbey’s Dubbel. Other beers from the Award’s sponsoring brewers were sampled before and after dinner.
AND THE WINNERS ARE…
Brewer of the Year: Richard Westwood, Marston’s
There’s A Beer For That Award for Best Beer Broadcaster
Winner: Radio 4’s The Food Programme
Silver Award: Lucy Stevenson and Louise Mulroy
Badger Ales Award for Best Young Beer Writer of the Year
Winner: Jacopo Mazzeo
Silver Award: Joshua Farrington
St Austell Brewery Award for Best Beer & Travel Writer
Winner: Mark Dredge
Silver Award: John Holl
Guild Award for Best Beer Writer – Corporate Communications
Winner: Carlsberg UK
Shepherd Neame Classic Collection Award for Best Beer & Food Writer
Winner: Mark Dredge
Silver Award: Adrian Tierney-Jones
Caledonian Brewery Award for Best Beer Communicator – Online
Winner: Jonny Garrett
Silver Award: Will Hawkes
Fuller’s 1845 Award for Best Beer Writer – Trade Media
Winner: Pete Brown
Silver Award: Nigel Huddleston
Adnams Award for Best Beer Writer – Regional Media
Winner: Alastair Gilmour
Silver Award: Susan & Judith Boyle
Molson Coors Award for Best Beer Writer – National Media
Winner: Pete Brown
Silver Award: Sophie Atherton
The Michael Jackson Gold Tankard for Beer Writer of the Year 2016: Pete Brown
The Guild is grateful to the following sponsors, whose support makes possible our annual awards and dinner:
Established in 1872, Adnams combines innovation with tradition. Behind the walls of its Victorian-looking building, it has some of the most advanced and energy-efficient brewing equipment in Europe and constantly experiments with new, innovative techniques. Adnams brews a range of beers which reflect its heritage but also challenge conventions. They use locally-grown East Anglian grains of malted barley, rye, wheat and oats wherever possible and deploy a number of different hop varieties from Britain as well as across the world – all of which contribute to their beers’ individual characters.
Badger Ales have been brewed in the heart of the Dorset countryside since 1777 by independent brewers Hall & Woodhouse. As one of the leading independent brewers in the UK, Hall & Woodhouse is well known for its range of award-winning ales brewed under the Badger brand and its network of public houses throughout the South of England. The brewery is still owned and managed by the seventh generation of the Woodhouse family.
Since its founding in 1869, Caledonian Brewery – also known as ‘The Caley’ – has been renowned for creating some of Scotland’s finest beers and its pioneering spirit has ensured that this is a brewery never content to rest on its laurels. Innovation is at the heart of the Caley’s ethos. One of the original Victorian breweries of Britain, it’s the only one to still use direct open fired coppers. At Caley they brew beer by hand, and that’s not just a nice phrase – it’s true, full leaf hop flowers and specialty malts are weighed and added by hand to the carefully crafted recipes.
Caledonian’s range of traditional craft ales comprising Deuchars IPA, Edinburgh Castle and Flying Scotsman is joined by its more contemporary craft styles, Three Hop and Coast to Coast and now Rare Red.
Fuller’s has been brewing at the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, London, since 1828. They are the only UK brewery to have three different beers named Champion Beer of Britain by CAMRA; collectively London Pride, Chiswick Bitter and ESB have received this accolade five times. Other beers in its extensive and wide-ranging portfolio include Honey Dew, Bengal Lancer, Wild River and Frontier.
Fuller’s 1845 is a strong, rich and fruity ale, specially commissioned to celebrate 150 years of the Fuller, Smith and Turner partnership. It’s a live, bottle-conditioned beer, skilfully brewed to mature over time.
For more than 350 years, Molson-Coors has been brewing, innovating and delighting the world’s beer drinkers. With a long history of creating local and international brands, Molson-Coors’ global beer portfolio has more than 100 beers. Always looking for ways to bring something new and exciting, their innovations are inspired by insights from customers and consumers.
Shepherd Neame is an independent family brewery and pub operator based in the medieval market town of Faversham, Kent. Dating back at least 400 years, it is Britain’s oldest brewer and still creates its range of Kentish ales and award-winning lagers using traditional methods with 100% natural ingredients; chalk-filtered mineral water from the artesian well below its site, the finest malting barley and Kentish hops.
Its beer portfolio includes Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale and the new Spitfire Gold, Bishops Finger Kentish Strong Ale and Master Brew. More recent introductions include Spitfire Lager, the contemporary Whitstable Bay Collection and a new collection of limited edition No.18 Yard Brewhouse beers, named after its historic cask store. It also brews a number of high quality international lagers under licence including Asahi and Samuel Adams Boston Lager.
St Austell Brewery
Founded in 1851 by Cornishman Walter Hicks, today St Austell Brewery remains a 100% independent and family owned brewer and pub operator. Its brewery in St Austell produces many of the region’s most popular beers for sale in pubs, bars and supermarkets in Cornwall, Devon, across the UK and also overseas. St Austell brews beer with individuality, character and spirit which is true to its vision of what good beer ought to be.
St Austell’s sponsorship of Best Beer & Travel Writer Award is apt as Cornwall is the UK’s favourite domestic holiday location and its leading brand Tribute is now served on British Airways flights and in BA lounges all over the world.
There’s A Beer For That
There’s A Beer For That is a campaign to reignite Britain’s love of beer by focusing on the quality, diversity and versatility of beer. Backed by Britain’s Beer Alliance, the campaign is seeking to change consumers’ attitudes and behaviours around beer through a number of events, digital activity and media partnerships. It recently launched partnerships with Picturehouse Cinemas and the Telegraph Media Group to further change the image of beer, and place it where consumers can learn, trust and experience great beer and food pairings.
Notes to editors:
The British Guild of Beer Writers was formed in 1988 to help spread the word about beers, brewing and pubs. With around 300 members, its mission is “to improve the standards of beer writing and improve the public knowledge of beer and pubs.” Its members include the cream of the country’s beer media experts – be they journalists, authors, producers, photographers, illustrators or PR people. Supporters of the Guild include: brewers, pub companies, and many suppliers associated with the brewing trade. http://beerguild.co.uk/
Issued on behalf of: British Guild of Beer Writers
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