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25th January 2012

Sainsbury’s build on Beer Competition Success

The Sainsbury’s 2011 Great British Beer Hunt was a major success with 105 beers entered from 45 breweries.

Sainsbury’s customers tasted and voted for beers at four Regional Beer Hunts where the brewers were able to showcase their beers to the visiting guests. The winning beers at these heats went through to a national competition run in over 350 Sainsbury’s stores nationwide. The sales volumes dictated which 8 beers went through to a prestigious Grand Final in London in September.

The First Prize winner – Bad King John from Ridgeway Brewing and the Runner Up – Caesar Augustus from Williams Brothers are now selling in Sainsbury’s stores across the U.K.

Through this innovative competition Sainsbury’s restated its commitment to smaller brewers and allowed hundreds of Sainsbury’s customers to have access to innovative brewers in a convivial and enjoyable environment

The basic format remains the same. The competition is:

  • Accessible to all brewers
  • Judged by Sainsbury’s customers with the help of industry experts at every stage
  • Reliant on an in store Competition to allow actual sales to decide which beers will go through to the Grand Final


  • Sees the winners featured nationally for a minimum 6 month listing


There are some major improvements this year

  • There are now five regions rather than the previous four. This will allow more brewers to enter as travelling times and costs will be reduced. Just as importantly more customers will be able to attend and meet their local brewers
  • There are now two categories – National and Regional. Brewers will be able to decide if they want to compete for a National or a Regional listing. The winners of a regional listing will be selected at a Regional Beer Hunt and will go into a maximum of forty stores located within their area. Those who opt for the National Competition will go through from the Regional activity to a national instore competition. The overall winners will be decided at a Grand Final and will get a full minimum 6 month listing in hundreds of Sainsbury’s stores from Autumn 2012 onwards.

Nicky Millington, Sainsbury’s Beer Buyer explains why the changes have been introduced

‘ 2011 was a great year for us and we decided to plan for 2012 by listening to feedback from brewers. It became very clear that there were many brewers who would love to enter the competition but could not produce sufficient beer to satisfy our volume requirements for a national listing. The changes that we have made will allow these brewers to participate and have the opportunity to meet customers from all over their region. As before we will be working with People Energies, who specialise in this area, to ensure that all sizes of brewers get the help they need at every step of the way.

As a team we are really excited about the 2012 Competition”


For further information, including details of the dedicated competition website and photos and comment on the 2011 competition contact


Richard Morrice

People Energies

08456 447665