Orkney’s Highland Brewing Company has triumphed to scoop up the ‘Champion Beer’ and runner up titles along with a raft of top accolades at Scotland’s most fiercely fought beer contest.
The Swannay brewery is toasting the gold ‘Overall Champion Beer’ crown for Island Hopping (3.9%abv) and silver for its Pale Ale(4.7%abv) brew after beating off all contenders at the SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) Scotland Region Beer Competition 2014.*
It marks a hat trick of success for Highland, the third consecutive year that one of its beers has claimed the top title – winning last year also with Island Hopping and in 2012 with Pale Ale.
This year Island Hopping again took gold in the standard bitters class (less than 4%abv) before being crowned champion from some 80 ales entered into the highly prestigious Glasgow held event.
Now the ‘incredibly drinkable hoppy, pale beer’ will again be judged on the UK national stage at the SIBA BeerX contest in Sheffield in 2015. Earlier this year it won gold in its class at the annual competition.
The nine-year-old brewery also swept up a clutch of four more awards: silver for Duke IPA (5.2%abv) in strong bitters and bronze for Orkney Blast (6%abv)for the premium strong bitters, while Orkney Porter (9%abv) took gold in the bottled porters, milds, stouts and old ales class and then silver in the Champion bottled ales.
A family run 20 barrel-brew-length plant, Highland Brewing Co was founded by head brewer Rob Hill in 2005. Since then the beers have won world acclaim -including Champion Cask Ale for Orkney IPA at the Brewing Industry International Awards 2011.
The latest success underpins Highland’s plans for future growth in 2015 with new branding planned to highlight the awards, new fermentation vessels to streamline production and brewing plant brought from Guernsey to increase production capacity by 300% – enabling the fulfilment of spiralling export enquiries whilst maintaining the Orkney provenance. Buildings will also be upgraded and, in the longer term, the brewery will be opened to the public.
Toasting the latest SIBA success, Rob Hill said: “This is fantastic news for the brewery. To win top beers once is great – to win three times is truly wonderful and another great boost to our ambitions to expand.
“This year has seen growth in line with projections allowing us to take on two new staff members to our small but dedicated team at Swannay. We are going into 2015 with our usual cautious optimism, but knowing that our beers are confirmed once more as some of the best cask and bottles ales in Scotland, if not the world. One again we are very proud to go into battle for Scotland at the SIBA national awards next year going up against the UK’s very best brewers.” Ends/ ref: Highland PR 12
Notes to editors:
*Island Hopping is brewed with American Citra and New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops.Highland’s ales are supplied directly to some 300 outlets throughout the Orkney Islands mainland Scotland and the North East of England while also reaching many outlets throughout the UK via leading wholesalers
SIBA represents several hundred independent brewers across the United Kingdom and is one of the most prominent and respected bodies in the brewing industry. Regional beer competitions are held through the UK to qualify for the annual national SIBA BeerX Awards.
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