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Awards

The Guild of Beer Writers Awards are back for 2021 and this  year we’re planning to announce the winners at our traditional glitzy dinner in December rather than an online event.  Entries will open in July with a closing date of 10 September.

We are proud of our Awards and take them seriously, with a rigorous judging process and a generous prize fund thanks to our sponsors.

Winning an award is confirmation that your writing has been judged the best in its field this year. Competition for this accolade is tough, but that doesn’t mean a new writer with a fresh voice can’t come in and win big in their first year.

Entries will open in July and we’ll confirm all the categories then, but in the meantime, why not take a look at the general guidelines below and start thinking of what work you might submit?  Remember, you can enter four pieces of work per category, and they need to have been published between 1 October 2020 and 31 August 2021.

Who can enter?

  • Our awards are open not just to writers, but to anyone who communicates about beer. This includes journalists, authors, bloggers, poets, illustrators, filmmakers, broadcasters and photographers.
  • The Awards are open to all writers and other communicators, but if you’re not a member of the Guild, you will have to pay £50 (unless you’re only entering the Best Citizen Communicator, which is free).
  • Most people enter their own work but if you’re an editor, publisher or other third party you can also enter someone else’s work on their behalf. You can also just tell us about the work of someone whose work you admire and let us prompt them to enter, by emailing ros@shielporter.com
  • The awards are not limited to work published in the UK, but entries must be in English (or translated into English by the entrant).
  • The only people who cannot enter are the judges.

What does it cost to enter?

Entering the Awards is FREE to all Guild members.  If you don’t belong to the Guild, entry costs £50 (for as many categories as you wish to enter), unless you are entering only the Citizen Communicator Award – in which case entry is free, as we recognise you have not been paid for your beer writing.   As joining the Guild costs only £55, we hope that you will consider becoming a member, giving you free entry to the Awards, in addition to the other benefits of membership. You can join the Guild here 

What do you have to do to win?

It’s entirely up to the judges what wins, and no one can predict what will do well. But the winning entries tend to have certain shared qualities:

  • Passion: If you’re not that interested in your subject, it’s doubtful you’ll persuade anyone else to be. In the best writing, the love of beer and pubs is obvious – and infectious.
  • Originality: This is relative of course – the big themes in beer and pubs are written about year after year. But the awards reward fresh perspectives. Knowledge and authority about the subject might seem essential, but can be beaten by an inspiring cry from the heart from a new arrival to the world of beer.
  • Clarity and readability: In order to communicate well, you need to communicate clearly. It helps enormously if you are clear, engaging and accessible.
  • Quality, not quantity: If you write a great deal, you’re encouraged to think about your very best work – one great piece stands a better chance than four averagely good ones. If you’re not prolific, don’t worry – in past years writers submitting one lone article have won an award.

When do we announce the winners?

We publish a shortlist of those entrants whose work is being considered for a prize, in November. The winners and runners-up for each award, and the overall Beer Writer of the Year will be announced at the British Guild of Beer Writers annual awards dinner, to be held on Thursday 2nd December in London.

We welcome all entrants to attend this dinner, which has become one of the most popular fixtures in the brewing industry calendar. Tickets for this year’s dinner will go on sale in September.

HOW TO ENTER

Entries to this year’s Guild Awards will open in July, please check back then and you’ll be directed to our dedicated entry website.

Number of entries

You may enter FOUR pieces of work per category. You may enter as many categories as you wish, but you may only enter any one piece of work into a maximum of TWO categories. The judges reserve the right to move work between different categories if appropriate.

Qualifying period

Work must have been published or broadcast between 1 October 2020 and 31 August 2019 to be eligible for an Award. (An 11-month eligibility window, as we extended the deadline last year due to lockdown).

Entering other people’s work

If you are entering work on behalf of someone else – eg a publisher entering a book on behalf of the author – please submit the entry digitally or by post, as above.  Please advise the nominee that their work is being submitted.

Deadline

The deadline for entries to the Awards is Friday 10 September

Return of submitted work

If you would like any book, magazine or other entries to be returned to you, please enclose a stamped addressed envelope.

If you have any questions about the Awards please contact Ros Shiel, on 07841 694137 or email ros@shielporter.com

Good luck!

JUDGES

The judging panel is chaired by Guild chair Emma Inch and includes: Lily Waite, the Guild’s current Beer Writer of the Year; Keith Bott, MD of Titanic Brewery; Sarah Bridges, founder of the A Lady of Leisure travel website and former Mail on Sunday correspondent; Joanna Copestick, publisher at Kyle Books; Matt Eley, communications consultant and former editor of Inapub magazine; Paul Hegarty, Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group; Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association; Ned Palmer, cheesemonger and author; Valentine Warner, chef, writer and broadcaster and Georgina Young, brewing director at St Austell Brewery.

SPONSORS

The Guild is grateful to the Awards sponsors, who include: Asahi UK, Budweiser Brewing Group UK & I, Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company,  Greene King, Heineken, Shepherd Neame, Society of Independent Brewers and VisitFlanders.