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22nd February 2012

Are you a Wheat Watcher?

Results of Ninkasi Nectar Competition to invent new beer with femAle appeal

The winners of an all-female competition to produce a new beer which will be brewed by women and will inspire more women to sample, as well as brew beer, have been announced today.

For thousands of years women were the primary beer brewers because beer was food and women were in charge of food production, however today female brewers are very much in the minority. Figures are also low for women sampling beer as the latest statistics from the Campaign for Real Ale show that just 32% of women in the UK have tried real ale. The Ninkasi Nectar challenge is an initiative to encourage more women to both brew and sample beer and was set by Jane Peyton from School of Booze in collaboration with Sara Barton from Brewsters Brewery in Grantham in October 2011 and partnership with Divine Fairtrade Chocolate.

The winning entries are:

  • 1st place Wheat beer with raspberries. By Louise Ashworth (pictured)

Inspired by Divine Dark Chocolate with Raspberries.

  • 2nd place Stout with raspberries, cardamom and black pepper. By Orla Lambe

Inspired by Divine Dark Chocolate with Raspberries.

  • 3rd place Golden ale with chestnut honey and thyme (the honey is supplied by the entrant’s friend from local bees) by Hazel Paterson

Inspired by Divine’s Fruit and Nut


Competition organiser Jane Peyton said “I am passionate about beer and especially about encouraging more women to drink it. And to inspire them about the variety of flavours in beer, I linked it to chocolate which most people love.  Divine Chocolate is amongst the best in the world and I am a committed supporter of Fairtrade so I approached Divine to ask them to donate some chocolate bars to the winners.  Entrants had to take inspiration from one of Divine’s amazing brands and then devise a recipe for beer that would match with the choc of their choice.”

Judge Sara Barton’s criteria for the winning recipes were beers that had a commercial appeal – i.e. a beer that would be popular – and also a beer that had ingredients in it that could be tasted in the beer, rather than being lost in production. Sara is excited about brewing the wheat beer with Louise and she has just the perfect yeast in mind!

Sarah said “I liked the contrast between the light fruity style of the wheat beer and the dark chocolate with raspberries and felt it would really complement the flavour of the chocolate . Wheat beers are a very interesting complex product with interplay between malt, hops and yeast in particular giving a deceptively full flavoured brew. I am really looking forward to producing the winning entry and am sure it will go down well with publicans and drinkers alike.”

Winning entrant Louise Ashworth said “When I found out about the competition I knew that I had to enter it, for a wide range of reasons, not just because I love beer and chocolate. My idea is for a Wheat Beer with raspberries as I think that a lot of women, and men, can be put off from drinking real ale as they think that it will be too bitter. I think that wheat beer is delicious and can be more accessible for non ale drinkers than many other styles of beer. Unfortunately it isn’t always easy to find a wheat beer in the majority of pubs, though you can buy bottled wheat beers in the off trade. I would really like to see wheat beer more widely available and hopefully the beer that we are going to create will be onsale in a large number of pubs.

One of the challenges within the competition was to devise a beer to accompany a particular chocolate from the Divine range of chocolate. The  Wheat Beer with raspberries has been devised to accompany Divine’s Dark Chocolate with Raspberries, as the slightly sweet, banana taste of the wheat beer will work well with the tartness of the raspberries and the dark chocolate, and help to counteract any bitterness.

Louise, who used to work at the Campaign for Real Ale and is a member of Dea Latis, went on “Through my involvement at CAMRA and Dea Latis I have long tried to encourage more women to try beer and the numbers have been increasing, however the latest stats from CAMRA show that still only around 32% of women have ever tried real ale.  I am very interested in trying to encourage more women to try beer without being patronising and this idea is to produce a beer which isn’t just aimed at women but can be widely appreciated by women. The working name for the new beer is Wheat Watchers which is obviously a play on words and, as many people know, beer is actually less calorific than wine.”


Contact details:

Jane Peyton, School of Booze, 07729 601590,

Sara Barton, Brewsters Brewing Company Ltd, 01476 566000

Louise Ashworth, Ashworth PR & Marketing, 07740 844733,


Notes for Editors:

Sara Barton, Owner and Director of Brewsters Brewing Company, started in the brewing industry over 20 years ago by taking a Masters degree in Brewing at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. She spent several years working for Courage mainly in the Berkshire Brewery as a Production Manager. Following an MBA she took to drugs with Eli Lilly, the makers of Prozac. She returned to her first love – beer and started the brewery up in September 1997, the beer flowed in the first days of 1998.

Jane Peyton set up School of Booze to offer fun and sociable corporate events in London, events for social groups, and private group entertainments.

Dea Latis is named after the Goddess of Beer and Water, and is a group working within the beer industry to make beer more accessible women. Dea Latis holds a number of events each year, further information at or twitter @Dealatis