SIBA reveals supreme champions in National Beer Competition


SIBA BeerX 2015 Supreme Champions

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has announced the three supreme champions in its National Beer Competition alongside its business and design awards.

The title of supreme chamption went to: Brass Castle Brewery of Malton in North Yorkshire for Burnout in the National Cask Beer Competition; St Austell Brewery in Cornwall for Big Job in the National Bottled Beer Competition; and Wild Beer Company of Evercreech in Somerset for Madness IPA in the National Keg Beer Competition. They were selected from the gold medal winners in their competition.

The supreme champions and the gold, silver and bronze medal-winning beers were chosen at a judging session at BeerX, SIBA’s annual festival of beer held in Sheffield last week. A panel of industry experts, local licensees, beer writers and drinkers assessed around 150 finalist beers, which had all earned their place in the finals by winning a medal at one of SIBA’s 10 regional beer competitions.

SIBA chairman Guy Sheppard said: “With close to 800 brewers now members of SIBA, competition for our awards is fierce and all our winners can be very proud of their achievement. We congratulate them on brewing beers that have been judged as the best in the country and wish them every success within the vibrant, innovative British brewing industry.”

Ian Goodall, business director of Brass Castle Brewery, said: “Brass Castle started just four years ago as a one-barrel brewery, so we’ve come a long way. Winning awards is always wonderful, but it’s particularly gratifying to win a SIBA Award because it is voted for by fellow brewers and industry peers.”

Rob Orton, brewing team leader at St Austell, said: “Our head brewer Roger Ryman has created an amazing beer in Big Job, and it’s gratifying to have that recognised. It’s building a following and, as we plan to offer Big Job as a cask ale more frequently, this award will definitely increase interest from pubs.”

Brief tasting notes on all the winning beers in the SIBA National Beer Competition are available on the BeerX website at http://toolbox.siba.co.uk/BeerX15org/beers.asp.

In the SIBA Business Awards, Hawkshead Brewery in Cumbria was named best overall brewery business for the development of its Beer Hall – a brewery tap, visitor centre and showcase for beer. It also won the best business development and best customer support categories.

The judges commented: “The Beer Hall was a brave idea in a rural area and has not only developed Hawkshead’s business but is creating interest in the brewing industry as a whole.”

A further eight brewers were recognised in the Business Awards for excellence in everything from customer support to marketing and “green” initiatives. Eight brewers were also recognised in the SIBA Design Awards which reward the best design on pump clips, bottle labels and overall visual branding.

SIBA managing director Mike Benner said: “The SIBA Business Awards have been running for 10 years. In that time, the independent brewing sector has expanded hugely and competition increased for a place on the bar or facing in the supermarket. Now more than ever, brewers have to do more than just brew great beer, they have to be great businesspeople as well.

“Our Business Awards recognise a raft of business skills and it is a credit to the talent of our members that so many of them submitted strong, compelling entries this year. What SIBA brewers may lack in size, they more than make up for with entrepreneurial flair, professionalism and dedication to their business.”

Also at BeerX, SIBA presented lifetime achievement awards to beer writer Roger Protz and George Philliskirk, former director of the Beer Academy.

SIBA Business and Design Awards winners

Business Award Overall Winner
Winner: Hawkshead Brewery
Highly commended: Gadd’s Ramsgate Brewery

Best Customer Support
Winner: Hawkshead Brewery

Best Community Support
Winner: Brass Castle Brewery

Best Green Business
Winner: Wye Valley Brewery
Highly commended: Four Pure Brewing and Stratford Brewery

Best Marketing & Communication
Winner: West Berkshire Brewery
Highly commended: Joule’s Brewery and Purity Brewing Co

Best Business Development
Winner: Hawkshead Brewery

Best Total Design Concept
Winner: Fuggle Bunny Brew House
Highly commended: Atom Beers and Gadd’s Ramsgate Brewery

Best Individual Bottle Label
Winner: Barrell & Sellers
Highly commended: Padstow Brewing Company

Best Range of Bottle Labels
Winner: Barrell & Sellers and Seven Brothers

Best Individual Pumpclip
Winner: Three Daggers Brewery
Highly commended: Dawkins Ales

Best Range of Pumpclips
Winner: Seven Brothers

Best SIBA Supplier Associate
Winner: Crisp Malting Group

Pictured top (left to right): Nigel Barden, BBC Radio food and drink broadcaster; Ian Goodall, director, Brass Castle Brewery; Rob Orton, brewing team leader, St Austell Brewery; David Barr, technical brewer, St Austell Brewery; Guy Sheppard, SIBA chairman

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