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4th December 2015

Best of beer writing honoured in Guild of Beer Writers awards – Belgium-based beer and food writer named Beer Writer of the Year 2015


Guild of Beer Writers winners 2015Beer writer, blogger and photographer Breandán Kearney was named Beer Writer of the Year 2015 at the British Guild of Beer Writers’ annual awards ceremony, staged yesterday (3 December) in London.

The Beer Writer of the Year title is the top award in the Guild’s annual competition for writing about beer and pubs, which this year received close to 150 entries and nominations across nine categories.  Kearney, who hails from Ireland but lives in Belgium, lifted two category titles – for Best Young Beer Writer and Best Beer & Food Writer – on his way to the overall prize.

Robert Humphreys MBE, chairman of judges for this year’s competition, said, “We were impressed by the quality and variety of this year’s entries. All the judges, including those who’ve worked around brewing and pubs for many years, were excited by what they read and also learned something new.

“The best writing demonstrates passion, curiosity and originality, and there was no shortage of these qualities among the entries.  We’re delighted to see beer writing in such good health and congratulate all our winners.”

Sheila Dillon, presenter of BBC’s The Food Programme and one of this year’s judges, said, “Breandán’s articles were a joy to read; informative, entertaining, full of quirky facts and written in a flowing, accessible style. He also understands that it’s the people behind the beer that make for an interesting story.”

Humphreys added, “We’re pleased with response to the Best Beer Broadcaster category introduced this year to reward broadcast communicators on mainstream media channels. They play a vital role in taking beer out to a wider public.”

Humphreys and Dillon were joined on the judging panel by:  Sarah Bridge, leisure correspondent at the Mail on Sunday: Toby Heasman, head brewer at Hall & Woodhouse; Nick Hewer, Countdown presenter and lately of The Apprentice and Larry Nelson, publisher of Brewers’ Guardian.

The Guild’s Brewer of the Year Award was presented to Jenn Merrick, head brewer at Beavertown Brewery in Tottenham Hale, London where she oversees the production of five core beers including Gamma Ray and experiments every few weeks with a new beer  – be it using new yeasts, barrel ageing or souring.

Guild chairman Tim Hampson said: “In the last 12 months Beavertown has transformed from a hip start up brewery into a brand that is becoming internationally recognised. This is in part due to Jenn Merrick’s brewing creativity, skill and persistence to always make better beer.

“Jenn has become an inspiration for many other brewers and she is a fantastic advocate for beer culture who has shown a great willingness to share her ideas, especially about slightly wild flavours.”

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 chef Andrew Bennett, with each dish accompanied by a beer selected by a handful of the Guild’s Beer Sommeliers and other beer and food experts.

Brewer of the Year: Jenn Merrick, Beavertown Brewery

There’s A Beer For That Award for Best Beer Broadcaster

Winner: Sarah Warman

Badger Ales Award for Best Young Beer Writer of the Year

Winner: Breandán Kearney

Silver Award: Daniel Tapper

Guild Award for Best Beer & Travel Writer

Winner: Des de Moor

Silver Award: Roger Protz & Adrian Tierney-Jones

Shepherd Neame Classic Collection Award for Best Beer & Food Writer

Winner: Breandán Kearney

Silver Award: Melissa Cole

Guild Award for Best Beer Writer – Corporate Communications

Winner: Richard Taylor for BrewDog

Caledonian Brewery Award for Best Beer Communicator – Online

Winner: Pete Brown

Silver Award: Matthew Curtis

Fuller’s 1845 Award for Best Beer Writer – Trade Media  

Winner: Jane Peyton

Silver Award: Robyn Black

Adnams Award for Best Beer Writer – Regional Media

Winner: Gavin Aitchison

Silver Award: Alastair Gilmour

Molson Coors Award for Best Beer Writer – National Media

Winner: Martyn Cornell

Silver Award: Tim Hampson

The Michael Jackson Gold Tankard for Beer Writer of the Year 2015: Breandán Kearney

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 220 members – to find out more go to

Caption to attached image: winners of the Guild of Beer Writers’ annual awards 2015 l-r: Jenn Merrick, Matt Curtis, Richard Taylor, Martyn Cornell, Adrian Tierney Jones, Sarah Warman, Gavin Aitchison, Pete Brown, Melissa Cole, Jane Peyton, Robyn Black, Breandán Kearney, Tim Hampson, Des de Moor


Contact:          Ros Shiel: / 07841 694137

Tim Hampson: / 07768 614283