Deadline extended for International Brewing & Cider Awards

January 2017

Brewers and cider makers are being given until 10 February to enter the International Brewing & Cider Awards following an extension to the deadline from competition organisers, Brewing Technology Services (BTS).

Ruth Evans, director of BTS, said, “We’re delighted with the number of entries received so far, which have come in from brewers and cider makers of all sizes, from all over the world. It has been particularly pleasing to see entries from companies who haven’t taken part in the competition before, which reflects the excellent reputation of our Awards among the global brewing and cider making communities.

“We’re extending the deadline to help those producers and brand owners who have requested a bit more time to submit their entry.  The final cut off on 10 February gives us a month to receive beers and ciders into the National Brewery Centre in Burton and prepare for the judging there in March.”

The last competition in 2015 attracted around 1,000 entries in total, from 50 different countries, and the final tally this year is expected to exceed that.
Evans added, “Entries to the International Cider Awards are well ahead of the 2015 level. The competition in March will be the third to include cider since we reintroduced it in 2013 and we have introduced new classes this year, in recognition of the innovation and diversity in the market.  There is now a place for ciders flavoured with fruit or other ingredients, or for those made using atypical processes such as ice or barrel-aged ciders.”

This year’s brewing competition also offers new classes, for sour beer, zero gluten beer and extra strong beer (ABV of 10% and above), introduced in response to the growing number of brewers who are producing these styles.

Judging for the 2017 Awards takes place from 7-9 March and medal winners will be announced immediately afterwards, on Friday 10th. The overall Championship winners in 10 categories are unveiled at a presentation ceremony held at London’s Guildhall on 26 April which is attended by medal winners and others from the global brewing and cider industries.

The 2017 competition is supported by headline sponsors Barth-Haas Group and Krones.

Trophy sponsors include: Brauwelt, Brewers’ Guardian, Brewing & Distilling International, drink Technology + Marketing and the British Guild of Beer Writers

Photo Caption:  winners of the International Brewing & Cider Awards 2015 at Guildhall (l-r)  Andrew Tysler, Deschutes Brewery;  Greg MacNeice, MacIvors Cider Co; Keith Lugton, C&C Ireland; Frank Müller, Brauhaus Riegele; John Bryan, Oakham Ales; Emma Gilleland, Marston’s; Simon Yates, Marston’s; Ben Kehs and Michael LaLonde, both of Deschutes Brewery

Brakspear reaches finals of pub competition

January 2017

Double Awards honours for Henley brewer and pub operator

Henley-based Brakspear has been shortlisted for two titles in the Publican Awards 2017, a national competition that rewards the best operators in the UK pub industry. The company is through to the finals for Best Accommodation Operator and Best New Pub or Bar, winners of which will be announced in March.

The Publican Awards are open to pubs across the UK and are run by leading industry magazine The Morning Advertiser.  Brakspear has secured its two finalist places for the accommodation in five of its managed pubs – four in the Cotswolds and one in Surrey – and for the Sheep on Sheep Street in Stow-on-the-Wold, which opened in June 2016.

Judges will now visit a number of the shortlisted pubs with members of the Brakspear head office team. The judging process also involves a number of professional mystery pub visits and, finally, an interview in London for the Brakspear senior management team with a panel of industry experts.

Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said, “Considering we only opened our first managed pub with rooms – the Porch House in Stow – in autumn 2013, and our newest sites with accommodation opened as recently as last summer,  it’s a real achievement to reach the finals in the Publican Awards, which are regarded as the ‘ones to win’ in the pub industry.

“We’re also very proud of the shortlisting for the Sheep on Sheep Street, where we’ve taken a very different approach to the typical Cotswolds pub by creating ‘a slice of London’ with the bar’s decor, food and drink.

“For both Best Accommodation and Best New Bar awards, we’re pitted against some of the best operators in the industry, so we will need to present a powerful case to the judges. We’ll certainly give it our very best shot and look forward to the announcement of the winners in March.”

He added, “Credit for the stunning transformation at the Sheep on Sheep Street must go to our property manager Tony Lewis and to our interior designer Stephanie Dennett, who has also designed the bedrooms at all five of our managed pubs, as well as to the general managers and their teams at each pub.”

Editor of The Morning Advertiser Ed Bedington said “We had record entries into the Publican Awards this year, so our judges had a difficult task in choosing the finalists from a very talented field. The pubs that have reached the shortlist deserve to be very proud of their achievement and we wish them all good luck with the next stage of the judging, and look forward to announcing the winners in March.”

Winners of the Publican Awards 2017 will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on 14 March, attended by guests from across the pub industry.

Brakspear has succeeded in the Publican Awards in previous years, winning Best Tenanted Pub Operator (up to 200 pubs) in 2014, and reaching the finals of the Best Brewing Pub Company last year.

Notes to editors

Brakspear pubs with accommodation

  • Brakspear operates a total of nine managed pubs, five of them with accommodation: the award-winning Porch House in Stow-on-the-Wold; Sheep on Sheep Street, also in Stow; George Townhouse in Shipston-on-Stour; Church Street Townhouse in Stratford-on-Avon and Running Horses in Mickleham, Surrey.
  • At all the pubs, interior designer Stephanie Dennett has created individual bedrooms that blend with the style and character of the pub, so they are all different, though they share a high level of comfort on a par with the best boutique hotels.

The Sheep on Sheep Street

  • The Sheep on Sheep Street – previously the Grapevine Hotel – opened in June 2016. The aim of the extensive refurbishment was to bring ‘a slice of London’ to the Cotswolds, creating a contemporary, relaxed atmosphere for dining, drinking and overnight stays
  • The redesigned bar and restaurant area is dominated by a central, full length bar top that flows into a counter dining space in front of the open kitchen with its wood-fired oven producing the Sheep’s popular pizzas. Overall, the menu combines Mediterranean influences with local ingredients.
  • Upstairs, 22 bedrooms offer boutique hotel-style accommodation, with a contemporary, quirky design.

Act Now To Tackle Inflation Impact, Warns Lynx Purchasing

January 2017

Operators need to get 2017 off to the right start by taking urgent action to tackle the impact of food and drink inflation on their business, warns buying specialist Lynx Purchasing.

January will see a wake-up call delivered to many restaurants, pubs and hotels in the form of supplier invoices for products bought during the key trading month of December. 

Rachel Dobson, managing director of Lynx Purchasing, says, “Most operators had set menus in place for much of December, taking them up to Christmas and through to the New Year weekend. With no choice other than to buy the products on the menu, and with trading brisk and money in the till, some may not have been looking too closely at the prices they were paying.

“They may now find that much of the profit margin they were forecasting from December sales has been eroded by lower GPs. That will be a sobering thought for many operators as they face the prospect of the quiet trading months of January and February and the expectation that food and drink inflation will continue to rise steadily throughout 2017.  

“We know that a number of suppliers had to raise prices on key products during December – for example, dairy, and especially butter, has seen sharp price rises, and products imported from Europe have cost more as a consequence of the fall in the value of sterling. We’ve been able to negotiate on behalf of our customers to mitigate the impact, but many operators without access to specialist purchasing support will have seen significant increases in their buying costs, with more to come.”

For Peach Pubs, operator of 18 acclaimed food-led pubs, Lynx Purchasing has worked with suppliers to limit price increases on new menus being introduced in January. Founder Hamish Stoddart said: “Rachel has worked really hard on our behalf, so while our wholesalers have imposed price rises in some areas of the menu, it hasn’t been on the most important lines for Peach.  

“This, along with Lynx’s expert negotiation, has got the increase down to something approaching OK, and in almost all areas of the menu, there won’t be any more increases until later in the year. I’m not celebrating, but I do believe it gives us a reasonable base for the first half of 2017.

“However, our suppliers are still under immense pressure and some of them will be losing money, so I expect more challenges later this year.”

Dobson adds: “We have a long-standing partnership with Peach. Their chefs have buying lists and know which suppliers they have to order from across every area of the menu. That level of discipline is going to be essential for operators during 2017 and beyond.

“No business will be immune to the effects of inflation, but our priorities are to negotiate the best possible prices with suppliers for our customers; to put pricing agreements in place which allow operators to plan menus with confidence; and to continue to share our insight into pricing and market trends.

“It is now more essential than ever for operators to plan their menus effectively, price their dishes profitably, and work closely with suppliers to maintain purchasing discipline. Those who fail to act now could well find themselves struggling very soon.”  

Lynx Purchasing works with more than 2,200 hospitality and catering operators to match them with the best suppliers and get the best possible prices on food and drink, as well as a whole range of essential products and services. Lynx’s buying experts help operators buy better and save time and money, year after year.

For more information on Lynx Purchasing, visit  email or call 01325 377 845.

Southern Comfort campaign celebrates a year of new opportunities - New Orleans style!

December 2016

Southern Comfort is to run a high-profile ad campaign across Christmas and the New Year. Using the strapline ‘A Warm Southern Welcome to 2017’, the campaign marks the first above-the-line support for the brand since its move to UK distribution by Hi-Spirits earlier this year.

The out-of-home campaign leverages a light hearted and comfortable-yet-confident brand tone of voice to maximise awareness and consideration of Southern Comfort over the festive season. Developed by creative agency Kemosabe, the campaign will run across key cities in the UK including London, Manchester and Glasgow with further media placements in Time Out and Metro.

The message will be seen in iconic spots including the bright lights of Piccadilly Circus’s digital wall, panels across the TFL London Underground and Bus Network and high impact digital screens at Manchester Printworks and St. Enoch, Glasgow.

The output includes a combination of out of home media executions, paid and organic social media and ‘surprise and delight’ branded live events that bring the Southern Comfort #SouthernWelcome proposition to life for those travelling and preparing for Christmas and New Year Celebrations with their friends and family. The message is maximised with increased visibility at the point of purchase, through collaboration with the brand’s key trade partners in both the off-trade and on-trade.

Amanda Watkins, Hi-Spirits marketing director, said: “This campaign showcases how serious we are about taking the Southern Comfort brand to the next level in the UK market. We are focusing on dialling up our New Orleans heritage, and our impactful festive campaign is aimed at helping consumers move out of a turbulent year and into a year of new opportunities in true New Orleans style.”

Southern Comfort has previously been revered for the brand’s disruptive TV campaigns, such as ‘Beach Guy’ and ‘Young Gun’. This campaign is a change in direction, focused on driving more authentic and meaningful connections with target consumers, and collaborating with the retailers, bars and pubs that support the brand.

Watkins added: “We all know what a strange and at times turbulent year 2016 has been and Southern Comfort wants to bring this to light in such a way that would put a smile on people’s faces this festive season. Working with the team Kemosabe, we have been able to bring a unique and refreshing approach from a New Year angle that avoids some of the clutter from the abundance of Christmas ideas by other brands. We loved the campaign so much we decided to take it beyond London and into key cities such as Birmingham, Newcastle and Bristol.”


Southern Comfort:

  • Southern Comfort is stocked in 95% of UK on-trade outlets and in all multiple grocers
  • In 1874, M.W. Heron took harsh whiskeys of the time and mixed them with his own blend of fruit and spices to create a whiskey that could be enjoyable comfortably.
  • Influenced by the soulful and vibrant spirit of New Orleans, Southern Comfort has carried on as one of America’s oldest and most iconic Whiskey brands for over 140 years.
  • The brand has long been known for its drinks versatility and use within a variety of classic cocktails.
  • Hi-Spirits has been responsible for the brand in the UK market since it was acquired by Sazerac in April 2016.


Guild of Beer Writers recognises talent with annual awards

December 2016

‘Hat trick’ for new Beer Writer of the Year

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.


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 British Guild of Beer Writers was established in 1988 to help spread the word about beer and brewing and improve standards of beer writing in general. Today the Guild has around 300 members – to find out more go to

Caption to attached image: winners of the Guild of Beer Writers’ annual awards 2016 l-r:

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

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.

Caledonian Brewery

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 1845

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

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.

Bestway has Christmas wrapped up with bumper Price Hold package

November 2016

As the peak Christmas trading season fast approaches, Bestway Wholesale is supporting the foodservice sector with its biggest-ever package of festive offers and promotions, along with seven day opening.

Whether operators are serving a tempting buffet or a full turkey dinner with seasonal veg and all the trimmings, the latest Price Hold Guarantee from Bestway features more than 200 products to help drive sales. Along with food and drink, non-food seasonal essentials such as Christmas crackers and napkins are also included.

Alongside products from Bestway’s exclusive Essentially Catering range, brands such as Aviko, Paxo, Bisto, Kerrymaid, Florette and many others are featured.  

For licensed operators, the Price Hold Guarantee also includes a range of top-selling brands and Bestway exclusives guaranteed to help the party season go with a swing, including beer, cider, wine and spirits.

All are available at market-leading prices guaranteed by Bestway from November right through to New Year’s Eve, allowing operators to plan their all-important seasonal menus and promotions with confidence.

Tony Holmes, Bestway’s sales director for foodservice and retail, says, “The festive season can be a long haul for operators, from the first Christmas parties through to the New Year bank holiday. By offering certainty on pricing, we help ensure that whatever other surprises Christmas has in store, unexpected costs won’t be one of them.”

Just a few of the exclusive prices in the November/December Price Hold Guarantee include:    

·         Smoked salmon 500g – £7.99

·         Turkey butterflies – £4.99 per kg

·         Essentially Catering boneless leg of lamb – £9.89 per kg

·         Essentially Catering whole ribeye steak –  £14.99 per kg

·         Essentially Catering Brussels Sprouts 1 kg – £1.39

·         Essentially Catering 100 buffet sausage rolls – £2.85 

·         Tuxford & Tebbut Blue Stilton 2.18 kg –  £7.29

·         Catering Crackers 50 x 11” £9.79

For the licensed trade, offers also include:

·         Peroni 24 x 330ml – £19.99

·         Baileys Irish Cream 6 x 70cl – £55.99

·         Grant’s Scotch Whisky 1.5l – £19.99   

·         Lelac Champagne 6 x 70cl – £65.99

·         San Huberto Malbec/Chardonnay 6 x 70cl – £25.99

·         Fever-Tree mixers 24 x 200ml – £10.99

All products in the Price Hold Guarantee are available in Bestway and Batleys depots as well as for free delivery, with online and telephone ordering available. Depots will be open seven days a week throughout December, excluding Christmas Day itself, enabling caterers to restock whenever needed.

Holmes adds, “As we know, catering and foodservice operators are facing an uncertain period as inflation starts to bite. Our Price Hold Guarantee is one key way that we can support our customers, and we’re stepping it up a gear not just in the run-up to Christmas but right through 2017, offering an unbeatable product range with prices held for two months at a time.

“With seven day opening at depots, as well as online and telesales ordering and free delivery, we offer the catering and foodservice sector a genuine 24/7 service.” 

Bestway Wholesale operates a dedicated telesales hotline (01738-646666) for orders plus nationwide deliveries. Caterers can also order online at