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27th March 2016


 ORKNEY’S fast growing Swannay Brewery is toasting a top accolade from Britain’s brewers as the herald of a bright future.


Swannay Pale Ale (4.7%) was hailed as the Gold Champion for Premium Bitters and Pale Ales by judges at the fiercely fought SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) National Cask Beer Competition, held at the annual BeerX event in Sheffield. The US style pale ale uses pale and crystal malt base to showcase the American hops.


The highly prestigious award marks the first national success for the Swannay brand, which was rolled out last year by the much acclaimed Swannay-based Highland Brewing Company to dispel any ambiguity in the brewery’s identity. Previously the beers were known to followers as both Highland and Swannay.


Highland Brewing was founded by Rob Hill in 2005 and sales grew by some 30 per cent a year on average as beers such as Orkney Blast, Island Hopping and Scapa Special notched up some 100 national and international awards.*


Now – alongside the innovative Orcadian linked branding – production capacity has trebled to some 28,800 (100 brewer’s barrels) a week as Swannay is poised to grow sales both at home and internationally.


Lewis Hill, son of the founder, said: “This win for Swannay Pale Ale is a top national award from our brewing peers at SIBA and a tremendous early success following our roll out as Swannay.


“The Swannay roll out, complete with a striking modern identity, has been accepted very well by existing customers and played a key part in securing initial orders from Germany and Poland. We’re also very hopeful of receiving orders from Sweden and Norway soon. And we will showcase our IPA-barley wine, Orkney Blast, at the Craft Brewers conference in Philadelphia in May.


“Now this splendid SIBA award will help to further highlight this new image and hopefully it heralds a bright future for Swannay both in the UK and internationally as we build on the terrific amount of support we won over ten years as Highland.”


The BeerX trade show and beer festival is the UK’s biggest craft-brewing exhibition, with thousands of brewers, international buyers and beer drinkers attending over several days.

Mike Benner, SIBA managing director: “SIBA’s beer competition represents the very best in British brewing across all formats. Having made it to the top of their regional competitions these beers are already winners, but the final national judging which takes place at BeerX is designed to find the very best of the best.”

Ends/ ref: SWANNAY PR11

Photograph caption: Head brewer Rob Hill takes the gold award for Swannay Pale Ale from SIBA chairman Guy Sheppard.


Notes to editors: Swannay presently supplies directly to some 300 outlets throughout the Orkney Islands, mainland Scotland and the North East of England, while also reaching many pubs and bars across the UK via leading wholesalers.

Three of Highland’s beers were proclaimed gold winners in their respective classes at the International Brewing Awards last year : Island Hopping; Pale Ale;  Sneaky Wee Orkney Stout; Also Highland’s Oat Stout claimed a silver award while Light Munro  won bronze in the low strength cask ale section.   The gold award for Island Hopping followed its success at the SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) Scotland Region Beer Competition 2014- voted Overall Champion Beer for the second year.  Orkney Blast is the most awarded beer.

For further media information contact, photographs or interviews contact: Steve Hobman, Rhino Public Relations: 07751 578605