One of Yorkshire’s fastest growing microbreweries, Ilkley Brewery, is taking London by storm following a high jinx win at the inaugural Craft Beer Battle earlier this month and two listings at Jamie Oliver’s barbecue steakhouse, Barbecoa.
The award winning real ale aficionados from the spa town of Ilkley have been racking up kudos in the capital for a number of months, with listings at the Rake at Borough Market, CASK in Pimlico and Craft in Brixton, to name a few. The brewery’s craft beer credentials hit a new high though after its Mary Jane IPA won the Craft Beer Battle blind tasting, staving off competition from Black Isle Brewery, BrewDog, Camden Town Brewery, Curious Brew, Fuller’s, Meantime and WEST. A ninth mystery brewery was also included in the line-up which was revealed to be Brooklyn Brewery from New York, USA.
Victory in the making
Organised by Tweat Up, who are famed for hosting food and drink feasts such as Ginstock, Fifteen Street and Ribstock, the Craft Beer Battle took place on 1 June at Merchant Yard and is set to become an annual event for Britain’s burgeoning craft beer brewers. Over 2,000 real ale fans gathered to take part in the blind tasting and it was Ilkley Brewery’s Mary Jane IPA, a 6% version of its flagship Mary Jane pale ale, that was victorious at the end of the sampling session.
“Winning against such a stellar line-up of craft breweries was a huge moment for us. Competitions like these really help to cement the hype surrounding the craft beer boom because it all boils down to taste,” said Luke Raven, from Ilkley Brewery.
On Jamie’s menu
A further string to Ilkley’s bow was added shortly after the Craft Beer Battle when Jamie Oliver’s hot new City steakhouse, Barbecoa, added Ilkley Brewery’s Mary Jane and its Rhubard Saison, Siberia, to its beer list. I the only brewery on the menu to have two listings, presenting yet another opportunity for Londoners to sample some of Yorkshire’s finest brews.
Richard Shelton, sales director at Ilkley Brewery, added: “Simply having the opportunity to feature in the Craft Beer Battle, alongside such craft beer greats, was a fantastic platform for us to introduce our beers to a discerning London market. Winning the competition was something else!
“We are delighted with this level of recognition and our recent listing at Barbecoa has only strengthened our profile in the capital. I hope it continues to open up growth opportunities for us in London and beyond.”
On 1 July, the team from Ilkley Brewery will be back in the capital at a Meet the Brewer evening which will be held at Craft in Islington* from 18.00 onwards. The Ilkley brewers will be trialling an experimental Saison at the event called Siberian Nights, a 5% dark version of Siberia which was originally brewed in collaboration with renowned beer writer, Melissa Cole. There will be an additional 10 real ales from Ilkley available on Craft’s hand pumps plus two keg products. Entry to the Meet the Brewer event is free and open to all.
*Craft in Islington is located at 55 White Lion Street, London, N1 9PP.
Images attached (below):
- Over 2,000 people gathered at Merchant Yard on 1 June for the Craft Beer Battle where Ilkley Brewed scooped the top prize.
- Ilkley’s Brewery’s Mary Jane IPA: Craft Beer Battle’s winning beer
- Craft Beer Battle trophy. Image credit: Kate Beard Twitter.com/katekatekoala
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Notes to editors:
The Ilkley Brewery Co. Ltd. was founded in January 2009. In May 2009, it launched its first beer, Olicana Gold, which was closely followed by Ilkley Best and Ilkley Original who were joined in the summer by the now famous Mary Jane.
A string of awards has followed with most of the beers now brewed by the brewery winning medals at beer competitions up and down the country.
In January 2011, Ilkley Brewery secured a debt and equity package from Glentrool Capital Partners LLP, who also provide corporate support to help grow the company. This enabled Ilkley Brewery to move from its premises on East Parade to a new 2,600 square foot brewery on Ashlands Road, Ilkley. A new 20 barrel brewing plant was installed allowing the brewery to produce 23,000 pints a week.
In October 2011, a new 30 barrel fermenter was acquired, taking production to over 32,000 pints a week. In March 2012, production capacity expanded again to close to 40,000 pints a week.
In January 2012, Ilkley Brewery was crowned one of Yorkshire’s most promising companies in the Government-backed Local Business Accelerators campaign, going onto win the national prize in August 2012 for being one of the country’s fastest growing and successful businesses.
April 2012 saw the launch of the Origins range, showcasing the best in beer styles and brewing. Medina and Siberia were the first collaboration brews with renowned beer writers, and The Chief, Victorian Pale Dinner Ale, Wit Marie, Green Goddess, and Holy Cow have since followed to much critical acclaim.
As of August 2012, bottles of Mary Jane, Ilkley Best, Ilkley Black and Ilkley Pale are available in Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Booths supermarkets across the north of England, as well as Harvey Nichols stores and restaurants nationally.
Additional SIBA medals for Ilkley Black and Lotus IPA were awarded in October 2012 (Bronze and Silver respectively).
November 2012 saw the first export sales to leave the UK.
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