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12th April 2012

The WI down pints At Denman College

Beer drinking and The Women’s Institute (WI) might not be considered a traditional combination, but that could all be about to change following a hugely successful beer and food matching dinner for 80 WI members at Denman College, the WI’s country base for creativity and innovation in Oxfordshire, which included nine delicious Hook Norton beers.

From Giddy Goose, to Double Stout and Haymaker, every beer was perfectly paired with each course of the locally sourced menu created and served by Thomas Franks, the WI’s creative contract caterer and a specialist in freshly produced food using local and regional producers to celebrate sustainability, ethical sourcing and food provenance.

Members kicked off their Hooky evening in the Lady Denman restaurant with a Hooky Bitter which was paired with a fresh cream of tomato and basil soup served with homemade bread and ended it nine dishes later* with a glass of Flagship beer to complement their English and Continental cheese board.

Anne Harrison, Chair of Denman College, said: “Our members thoroughly enjoyed their beer and food matching evening which beautifully demonstrated how beer and food can perfectly complement one another. It was also a great showcase of the range of ethically sourced local suppliers and food provenance, which is part of one of our own campaigns looking at country of origin food labelling.”

Adds James Clarke, Managing Director of Hook Norton Brewery and great grandson of its founder: “The evening was a great success and members thoroughly enjoyed our beers – so much so, I think I’ll have to consider creating a brew especially in honour of The WI!”


For further information: Andrew Baud or Becky Charman, Tala PR

Tel: 020 3397 3383, 07957 474568

Notes to editors:

The full Beer and Food Matching Menu created by Thomas Franks is attached.

Thomas Franks is an independent contract caterer with a passion for freshly produced bespoke food, from locally and regionally sourced ingredients.  With clients including Peugeot, General Mills, Pearson, Denman College, The Royal School and Shiplake College, the company was launched in 2005 and now has a turnover approaching £12 million and employs around 450 people. (

The Women’s Institute is the largest voluntary women’s organisation in the UK with more than 210,000 members in over 6,500 WIs. It plays a unique role in enabling women to develop new skills, giving them opportunities to campaign on issues that matter to them and their communities, and provides wide-ranging activities for members to get involved in.

Denman College has been the residential adult education centre of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes since 1948. Denman College offers more than 500 short residential courses for anyone to attend, members and non-members, men and women. For details of courses held at Denman College please visit