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26th March 2012

A brewers dozen of Beer Academy Sommeliers

Less than six months after the launch of the scheme, there are now twelve Beer Academy Sommeliers.  The most recent sommeliers received their accreditation after their viva with Beer Academy Chief Examiner, Dr George Philliskirk.  The latest Sommeliers hail from London, Oxfordshire, Bristol and Caerphilly.  Their biographies are attached below.

Beer Academy Director, Simon Jackson said “There has been tremendous  interest in the Beer Academy Sommelier qualification with places for every viva slot being snapped up well in advance.  Our sommeliers are showing that there is an enormous public thirst to learn more about beer.  The key attributes for a successful Beer Sommelier are great product knowledge and having the communication skills to inspire people to discover more.  There is a vast amount of good news about beer and the Beer Sommeliers are using this to attract more people into the category”.


For further information contact


Paul Hegarty

+44 (0)7808 096250

Notes for Editors.

Beer Sommelier Biographies

After studying Hotel and Restaurant at Oxford Brookes University Tom Gee spent 10 years working in London for the Conran group in hotels, bars, restaurants and more recently events firms organising private parties and other events including the Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace.  Tom left London to run his own business in Oxfordshire and then purchased the freehold on the Red Lion Inn, Cricklade in 2009. The pub now has 10 hand pumps and showcases real ales and craft beers on draught and in bottles from all around the world. Tom is also now in the process of adding a microbrewery to the site that he intends to run himself

 Andrew Cooper’s passion for beer came from an enjoyment for trying new food and drink whilst spending 10 years managing pubs. A fondness for different and unusual beers from around the world and then the opportunity to share the love meant plenty of events in the pubs. Andrew has spent the last 2 years at the Bristol Beer Factory hosting numerous tastings. The events he has put on have been wide ranging in their scope; Beer v Wine v Cider Competitions, 7-course beer dinners at Michelin-listed restaurants, Cheese School, BBF Beer and Food Tour etc. He is adept at not only matching food with beer but also using beer as an ingredient when devising a menu. And he has managed to incorporate malt and hops with great effect! Andrew takes great pleasure in raising awareness and demonstrating that beer is a fantastic partner with food.

After starting his employed life with Butcombe Brewery as a cask washer and general worker some 20 years ago, Tom Newman left and set upon his new career as a water engineer. 10 years later after achieving a post graduate and chartership in water engineering, Tom decided take a U-turn by returning to his passion and past-time of brewing. In 2003, after persuading his Welsh father to allow him to construct a brewery in his garage the business set off. Now, nearly a decade on, after 2 expansions Tom is back in his family land of Caerphilly receiving a number of National and International awards for his flavoursome high-end organic beers with his Brewery ‘The Celt Experience’. Now as a newly qualified Beer Academy Sommelier (first in Wales!), Tom intends to travel both locally to his Welsh accounts and globally to his importers to encourage the fusion of a fantastic range of beers with flavoursome food dishes.

Ashley Cherrett has worked for Fullers since 1987 where he worked within the brew house, in fermentation and maturation.  After 5 years in brewing Ashley moved to Trade Quality where he could use his skills to help improve quality beyond the brewery gate.  Working within the tied estate Ashley helps drive standards and promote cask ale, along with supporting our ever growing free trade base.  As a first round judge on the Cellar of the Year, Ashley’s passion and attention to detail is second to none.  To enhance his role further Ashley wanted to develop his skills with regards to tasting and quality to a greater depth so looked to become a Beer Sommelier.  This added knowledge of beer styles has already been put to good use as part of Fullers pre-opening training at their recent managed accounts.