Brighton based beer writer and radio broadcaster Emma Inch has been named Beer Writer of the Year 2018 at the Guild of Beer Writers’ annual awards ceremony, staged on 22 November.
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 140 entries across nine categories. Inch won two category awards – National Media and Online Communication – on her way to the top prize.
Inch is the creator and presenter of Fermentation Radio, the UK’s only regular beer and brewing show on FM radio. She has written for a number of national and international publications, judges regularly at beer competitions and this summer established the first Brighton & Hove Beer Week.
Adrian Tierney-Jones, chair of judges this year after taking the Beer Writer of the Year title in 2017, said, “All the judges found it exceptionally hard to choose the winners and runners up from the very strong field of entries received this year. As someone who has written about beer for 20 years, it is heartening to see the impressive levels of knowledge, energy and passion in beer and pub writing, and also to see the growing media interest in the subject.
“It’s always good to see new voices receiving recognition in our awards and tonight’s roll of honour includes writers who only joined the Guild this year, proving that our robust judging rewards talent, not time served. Everyone who received an award or a commendation should be extremely proud; they really are the cream of British beer writing in 2018 and we wish them all success in their future career communicating about beer and pubs.”
Tierney-Jones was joined on the judging panel by Amy Bryant, food editor at The Telegraph; James Cuthbertson, MD of Dark Star Brewery and founder of the Beer & Cider Marketing Awards; Stu McKinlay, co-founder of Yeastie Boys; Jenn Merrick, founder of Earth Station Brewery; Mark Taylor, Bristol-based food and drink writer, and Zoe Wood, retail correspondent at The Guardian.
The Guild’s Brewer of the Year title, presented at the same time as those for writing, was this year shared for the first time by two candidates who drew level in a poll of Guild members: John Keeling, recently retired from Fuller’s, and Jaega Wise, head brewer at Wild Card Brewery.
Presenting these Awards, Guild chairman Pete Brown said, “Both John and Jaega are worthy recipients. John’s contribution to brewing has been immense, from championing traditional cask ale to creating contemporary crowd pleasers with craft brewers, while also being an advocate for gender equality in the industry, appointing a woman head brewer to succeed him.
“Jaega has not only been producing outstanding beers but has also worked tirelessly to promote beer among the general public and built links with other drinks industries such as wine. Jaega has risen to become one of the most important voices of the industry, and a champion of increasing diversity and promoting equality within it.”
The winners were announced at the Guild’s annual dinner held at the Chelsea Harbour Hotel. Guests enjoyed a four-course dinner, with each dish accompanied by a specially selected beer: Chalky’s Bite from Sharp’s; Fourpure’s Oatmeal Stout; Hopopolata from Marble Brewery; Hogs Back Brewery’s OTT and Dark Island Reserve from Orkney Brewery. Beers from the Award’s sponsoring brewers – Adnams, Fuller’s, Greene King, Heineken and St Austell Brewery – were enjoyed before and after dinner.
AND THE WINNERS ARE…
Brewer of the Year:
John Keeling, recently retired from Fuller’s
Jaega Wise, Wild Card Brewery
Guild Award for Best Citizen Beer Communicator
Winner: Martin Oates
Commended: Oli Carter Esdale
Guild Award for Best Beer Writer – Corporate Communications
Winner: Roosters Brewery
Guild Award for Best Beer & Travel Writer
Winner: Jonny Garrett
Silver Award: Mark Dredge
Long Live the Local Award for Best Writer about Pubs
Winners: Jessica Boak & Ray Bailey
Commended: Bob Jeffrey
St Austell Brewery Award for Best Young Beer Writer of the Year
Winner: Eoghan Walsh
Silver Award: Katie Taylor
Commended: James Beeson
Heineken Award for Best Beer Communicator – Online
Winner: Emma Inch
Silver Award: Matthew Curtis
Fuller’s London Pride Award for Best Beer Writer – Trade Media
Winner: Will Hawkes
Silver Award: James Beeson
Commended: Matthew Curtis
Adnams Award for Best Beer Writer – Regional Media
Winner: Alastair Gilmour
Silver Award: Susan & Judith Boyle
Greene King Award for Best Beer Writer – National Media
Winner: Emma Inch
Silver Award: Melissa Cole
The Michael Jackson Gold Tankard for Beer Writer of the Year 2018
Notes to editor
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.
Fuller’s London Pride
For Fuller’s, brewing beer is not just our business – it’s our passion. We bring everything to it, committing all our energy and creativity to make Fuller’s beers more special than the rest. It’s that dedication that keeps London Pride as fresh and popular as ever – exhibiting the characteristic longevity of the flower it is named after.
Brewing in Bury St Edmunds, the home of Greene King, dates back 1000 years to day of the Doomsday book and in 2019 our two historic breweries, Westgate in Bury St Edmunds and Belhaven in Dunbar will be celebrating a combined brewing heritage of 520 years. With a diverse range in our beer portfolio, from pale ales to craft beers and from bitters to stout one thing is for sure, our passion for brewing top quality, delicious beer is as strong today as all those years ago.
We are proud to sponsor the Guild of Beer Writers Awards, a wonderful celebration of our national passion for great quality British beer, the writers who challenge the brewers and the brewing industry who continue to drive innovation in beer.
With over 2,000 passionate people, some of the nation’s most loved beers and ciders, nearly 3,000 pubs, thousands of acres of orchards and three UK breweries, there’s more to HEINEKEN than the name above the door. Our portfolio of brands includes Foster’s, Heineken®, Strongbow, Desperados, Kronenbourg1664, John Smith’s, Bulmers, Amstel, Birra Moretti and Old Mout backed by a full range of niche and speciality brands.
As long term supporters of the British Guild of Beer Writers, we truly believe in the power of storytelling – whether that be through the written word, a podcast, or a photograph. And we are proud to be sponsoring once again.
Long Live The Local
This campaign, backed by Britain’s Beer Alliance. was launched in July 2018 to celebrate the positive role that pubs play in our lives and communities and to highlight the jeopardy they face from a range of tax pressures (VAT, Business Rates & Beer Duty).
More than 116,000 people signed the Long Live the Local petition and the Chancellor listened by freezing beer duty in the October Budget, saving over 3,000 jobs. However, with a rise planned in 2019, the Government has merely postponed the damaging tax hike. To sign the new petition or write to your MP, visit www.longlivethelocal.pub
St Austell Brewery
Founded in 1851 by Cornishman Walter Hicks, St Austell Brewery is an 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 the south west, across the UK and overseas. Led with brands including Tribute and Proper Job IPA, St Austell brews beer with individuality, character and spirit which is true to its vision of what good beer ought to be. Fellow west country brewer and pub company, Bath Ales, joined the St Austell Brewery family in summer 2016.