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23rd July 2012

Otley beer makes official top 50 British food and drink list

O-Garden, a clear wheat beer spiced with roasted orange peel, coriander and cloves, crafted by the Otley Brewing Company in Pontypridd, has been named among the best-tasting food and drink products in Britain.

Named Champion Beer of Wales at the Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival in 2010, the 4.8% beer was chosen from 123 entries awarded a coveted three-star gold from 8,807 products judged in the 2012 Great Taste scheme run by the Guild of Fine Food.

Ranging from beers to brownies, saffron to smoked rack of bacon and mincemeat to marmalade, many reflect the return to more traditional foods but given a modern twist.

Judges this year included Masterchef winner and restaurateur Mat Follas, restaurant critic and Masterchef judge, Charles Campion, food writers Lucas Hollweg and Xanthe Clay and over 300 food buyers from leading food halls, delicatessens and farm shops including Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason.

According to Guild of Fine Food chairman, Bob Farrand, each of these food and drink products was rigorously scrutinised. He said: “To achieve a 3-star grading involves at least 25 experts unanimously agreeing that the product tastes divine.


“But to be included in the Top 50 Foods in Britain meant each one had to satisfy the discerning palates of a further 25 dedicated foodies. These products all deliver the most extraordinary taste.”


Nick Otley, managing director of the Otley Brewing Company, said: “To reach the top 50 Great Taste List is brilliant news and a real testament to the quality of our beers.


“O-Garden has always been a firm favourite in our portfolio since it was first brewed in 2009. Since then it’s received critical acclaim from top beer judges such as Melissa Cole who described it as exciting, refreshing and complex.


“We have only been brewing since 2005 and the company has grown so much since then. It’s an exciting time for the craft beer industry right now and many people are seeking out new flavours and fusions. We’re always thinking of new ways with beer by cooking with it and matching beers to different foods.


“To be part of Great Taste is a fantastic industry stamp of recognition and we’re pleased to have been ranked alongside some other top Welsh and UK food and drink products.”


Great Taste is the biggest independent benchmarking scheme for local, regional and speciality foods in Britain. Over 350 professional foodies are brought together each year to take part in 45 days of judging, deciding which foods deserve one-star, two-star or the ultimate three-star awards.


The scheme has become known for launching little-known artisan producers into the big time of the fine food world, while occasionally discovering the odd mainstream surprise. Speciality foods in this year’s Top 50 also include a North African Berber cake made in Gloucestershire, a pear juice from a college in Warwickshire, a sourdough miches from Cumbria, a corned pork from Northern Ireland and a Lithuanian Scalded Rye Bread from Essex.


The annual programme culminates with the ‘Golden Fork’ Awards in London in September and the naming of the Great Taste Supreme Champion, a title won last year by a corned beef from traditional Northern Ireland butcher, McCartney’s of Moira which has been nominated again in 2012.


For further information please contact any of the following:


Rebecca Richards or Sian Taylor at Golley Slater on 029 2078 6054 or /



Saskia Leuchars or Sarah Lewis at Complete Media Group on: / | 0207 420 3550



Guild of Fine Food, Guild House, Station Road, Wincanton, Somerset BA9 9FE / | 01963 824464



The market for artisan and local food

Despite tough trading across all retailing, sales of speciality food and drink have remained resilient through the recession. Consumers are eating out less but are unwilling to compromise on the quality of food eaten in the home. This coupled with an increasing awareness of the positive impact local food and drink has on rural communities, employment and the environment is thought to be the driving force behind the continued growth in artisan food and drink in the UK.


According to ‘Field to Fork’ the recent report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, sales of local foods continue to rise. Local food sales in some 750 towns across England could currently be as high as £2.7 billion a year. This is achieved through independent outlets (including social enterprises and co-operatives)


These outlets support over 103,000 jobs (full-time and part time) of which over 61,000 can be attributed directly to local food sales. Money spent in local food networks is re-circulated within the local economy for longer: it could be contributing as much as £6.75 billion of total value to local economies.


Pound for pound, spending in smaller independent local food outlets supports three times the number of jobs than at national grocery chains: outlets selling significant to high percentages of local food support on average one job for every £46,000 of annual turnover. By comparison, at three national chains one job is supported per £138,000 to £144,000 of annual turnover.




What is Great Taste?

Great Taste is the largest and most trusted accreditation scheme for speciality and fine food & drink. Established in 1994, it encourages and mentors artisan food producers, offering a unique benchmarking and product evaluation service leading to an independent accreditation that enables small food and drink businesses to compete against supermarket premium own label brands.


Since 1994 over 60,000 products have been evaluated. This year alone, over 8,000 products were blind-tasted by panels of specialists: top chefs, cookery writers, food critics, restaurateurs and fine food retailers.


What are Great Taste judges looking for?

They’re looking for great texture and appearance. They judge the quality of ingredients and how well the maker has put the food or drink together. But above all, they are looking for truly great taste.


How do they work?

Working in small teams, experts taste 25 foods in each sitting, discussing each product as a coordinating food writer transcribes their comments directly onto the Great Taste website which producers access after judging is completed. Over the years, numerous food businesses, start-ups and well established producers have been advised how to modify their foods and have subsequently gone on to achieve gold standard.

Any food that a judging team believes is worthy of gold is judged by at least two further teams. Only when there is a consensus will Gold be awarded – that means at least 16 judges will have tasted every gold accredited product. For 3-star Gold, every single judge attending the session, which can be as many as 30 experts must unanimously agree the food delivers that indescribable ‘wow’ factor.


What should consumers look for?

The logo. The Great Taste symbol is their guarantee a product has been through a rigorous and independent judging process. It’s not about smart packaging or clever marketing – it’s all about taste.



Great Taste 2012: Top 50 foods in Britain



Organic Shoulder of Pork Slade Farm Organics, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales


Welsh Organic Shoulder of Lamb – Rhug Ltd, Denbighshire, Wales


Lamb Carpacchio – Trealy Farm Charcuterie, Monmouth, Wales


O-Garden Wheat Beer – Otley Brewing Company Ltd, Mid Glamorgan, Wales.

A clear wheat beer spiced with roasted orange peel, coriander and cloves.



M’HenchaSophie’s Baked Delights, Gloucestershire

A North African Berber cake made from an almond sugar paste, flavoured with rosewater, orange and lemon zest, wrapped in brick pastry, coiled into a cake.


Passion Fruit CurdThe Bay Tree Food Company, Somerset

A passion fruit curd, made in small batches.


Strong Horseradish & CreamThe Tracklement Company Ltd, Wiltshire

A powerful, fresh-grated horseradish root mixed with cream.


Jack Ratt Vintage Dry CiderLyme Bay Winery, Devon

A 7.4% vol cider, fermented from freshly-pressed traditional cider apple varieties such as Dabinett, Kingston Black & Yarlington Mill.


French-Style Saucisson – The Cotswold Curer Ltd, Gloucestershire.

A fully cured artisan salami, handmade using a traditional French recipe and locally produced free range pork. All the spices used are freshly ground, and include cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.


Potted Wild Boar with Sherry & Thyme – The Potted Game Company Ltd, Gloucestershire.


Gooseberry and Elderflower Ice CreamJolly Nice, Gloucestershire.

Gooseberries & elderflowers mixed with a rich custard base and infused with a subtle hint of orange and lemon.


Tregothnan Honey Yoghurt Ice – Salcombe Dairy (UK) Ltd, Devon

A rich yoghurt with a hint of honey.



Lithuanian Scalded Rye Bread – Amber Foods Plus Ltd t/a Karaway, Barking, Essex


English Wagyu Sirloin Steak – C. Lidgate Ltd, London.

English Wagyu beef, with vivid marbling and a velvety, buttery consistency.


Lime & Chilli Chutney – Geeta’s Foods Ltd, London.

An authentic Indian chutney made from Kagzi limes, green chillies and aromatic spices.


Gizzards Confit – 1 Chef 4U, London


Barkham Blue – Two Hoots Cheese, Berkshire

A soft, blue veined cheese..


Imperial China – Demarquette Fine Chocolates, London

A ganache chocolate made with single origin cacao from Vietnam and infused with Jasmine White Monkey Tea..



Concorde Pear JuicePershore College (Part of Warwickshire College), Worcestershire

A juice made from Concorde pears, but with 10% Bramley apples added to complement and balance the flavour. All fruit is hand-picked, pressed and bottles in Worcestershire.


Creme Fraiche – Marybelle, Suffolk.

Made with milk and cream from local farms.


Jaipur IPA bottled beer – Thornbridge Brewery, Derbyshire


Capra Nouveau Goats’ Milk Cheese – Brock Hall Farm Dairy, Shropshire

A semi-soft, unpasteurised, artisan, rind-washed cheese using milk from their own free range, herd of pedigree, Pure-Saanen goats.


Gloucester Old Spot Smoked Middle Back Bacon – Ludlow Food Centre Ltd, Shropshire

Made with pork from Ludlow Food Centre’s own herd, cured and smoked on the premises.




Sourdough MichesMore? The Artisan Bakery, Cumbria.

A three-flour sourdough bread fermented for 24-36 hours.


Four-Bone Rack of Heather-Fed Lamb – Alberts -The Artisan Butcher, Lancashire


Raspberry Vinegar – Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars Ltd, Yorkshire

A triple-filtered fruit vinegar.


Rack of Wild Northumberland Roe Deer – Ridley’s Fish & Game, Northumberland.


Silver Smoked Eel Fillet – Port of Lancaster Smokehouse Ltd, Lancashire.

Brined in pure sea salt and subtly kiln-roasted over oak.


Salted Butter – Winter Tarn Cheese, Cumbria

A salted butter made with organic cream and salt.


Marinated Springbok Portioned Fillet – Kezie Foods, Borders, Scotland

A marinated and portioned fillet of wild/free-range springbok.

Jaffys Mallaig Kippers – J. Lawrie & Sons, Inverness-shire, Scotland

Smoked in a traditional brick kiln over oak shavings from malt whisky casks to produce plump succulent kippers. The traditional cure and smoking methods have been handed down over four generations.



Arbroath Smokies – Original Smokies from Arbroath, Angus, Scotland

Fresh haddock, cleaned, tied and salted, then smoked in the original way over a smouldering hardwood log fire contained within a whisky cask.


Hot Smoked Salmon – Donaldsons of Orkney, Kirkwall


Knockraich Crowdie Soft CheeseKaty Rodger’s, Knockraich, Stirlingshire, Scotland.

A traditional, British Friesian cows’ milk crowdie, with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, this soft white cheese can be eaten on its own or used as an ingredient.



Dry-Aged Marrow Butter – Kettyle Irish Foods, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland

A butter with bone marrow, blended with a mix of sea salt and cracked black pepper.


Hand-Made Corned Beef – McCartney’s of Moira Ltd, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Dry-aged beef (heels of silverside) is slow cooked with pork trotters for 14 hours, then shredded, with all fat removed. Natural juices are added back before pressing.


Hand-Made Sweet Corned Pork – McCartney’s of Moira Ltd, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Shoulder pork is dry cured, slow cooked with pork trotters for 12 hours, then shredded, with all the fat removed. Natural juices are added back before pressing.


Moyallon Guanciale –  Hannan Meats Ltd, Old, Moira, County Antrim, Northern Ireland



Smoked Rack of Bacon – Oliver Carty Ltd, County Roscommon, Ireland

A reduced-salt smoked rack of bacon.


Yeats Country Spreadable Goats’ Cheese – Green Pastures (Donegal), Lifford, Ireland


G’s Gourmet Rhubarb & Ginger Jam – G’s Gourmet Jams (Abbey Farm Foods), County Laois, Ireland.

Rhubarb and ginger jam, handmade made using rhubarb, sugar and ginger.  Cooked in small batches using the traditional ‘open pan’ method and hand-stirred using a wooden spoon.




Cortijo De Suerte Alta Coupage Natural      Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Cortijo De Suerte Alta SL, Spain.

An organic, DOP oil from a traditional family-owned olive grove. Produced from three varieties of olive: Picudo, Hojiblanco and Picual.


Azada Hazelnut Oil – Azada Organic, Barcelona


Belazu Preserved Lemons – The Fresh Olive Company, Middlesex.

Pickled in salt and their own juices, these lemons are an essential, authentic ingredient in a wide range of Moroccan recipes.


Thyme Honey – Melissourgion, Greece.

A natural, unprocessed thyme honey.


Persian Nougat with 90% Pistachio – The Exquisite Range, London

A nougat from Iranian producers.


Liquorice & Peppermint Tea – Teapigs Ltd, Brentford


Amacha tea – Momo Cha Fine Teas, Essex.

Organically grown ‘Buddha tea’ comprising only rolled and dried leaves of Japanese Hortensia.


Double Fillet of Smoked Salmon – Stefan Palsson AB, Sweden.


Jamon Iberico de Bellota – Jamones Juan Pedro Domecq SL, Spain.

100% pure Iberico ham from 100% naturally reared, acorn-fed pigs fed.