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9th March 2012

Three of the best take SIBA’s top honours

Oakham Ales, Bristol Beer Factory and Hepworth & Company yesterday took top honours, winning the Society of Independent Brewers’ (SIBA) Supreme Champion Awards for cask ale, bottled beer and craft beer in keg respectively.

Oakham’s Green Devil, a 6% ABV IPA, won the Gold Award in the Premium Strong Beers category before going on to take the Supreme Champion title, while Bristol Beer Factory’s Southville Hop, a 6.5% heavily hopped beer, struck Gold in the Champion Strong Bottled Beer category. Hepworths 4.5% ABV Conqueror Sussex Stout was judged the best in Champion Dark Ales, Stouts and Porters.

All three winners were announced at SIBA’s annual conference in Stratford-upon-Avon. Judging took place last month at two finals – one for the cask ale and bottled beer categories and a separate event for the keg beers.  Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards were today presented in seven cask and five bottled beer categories, the Craft Beer in Keg awards (apart from the Supreme Champions) having been announced last month.

In previous years, only one bottled beer award has been made after the finals judging and the increase reflects the growing number and quality of bottled beer from SIBA brewers. The Craft Beer in Keg competition is in its second year.

Taking a Gold award at the National Beer Competition brings more than just prestige. The seven cask beer winners are now guaranteed a place on the SIBA Champions Bar at the Great British Beer Festival this summer.

SIBA chief executive Julian Grocock, said, “Those of us who have been involved in this round of SIBA beer competitions have once again been overwhelmed by the quality of the beers entered at every stage from regional heat to national finals.

“With standards rising every year, it becomes ever more challenging to select the best beers from a very strong field. Winning an award at a regional competition is an achievement to be proud of and to take one at the national competition an even greater one.”


He added, “Such is the growing reputation of SIBA’s beer competitions that winning an award today offers the successful brewers the promise of much-increased awareness among beer enthusiasts, and new listings in the growing number of beer-oriented pubs, bars and off-trade outlets.”

Adrian Posnett, MD of Oakham Ales, said, “We’re delighted to have won this very prestigious Award,  especially for Green Devil, which we only started to brew 12 months ago. Awards like this help to cement our reputation and raise our profile with retailers and drinkers; they are a testament to the talent and hard work of our brewing team.”

Bristol Beer Factory MD Simon Bartlett said, “This is a reward for our hard work over the last eight years and further vindication of our decision to brew beers like Southville Hop, which is heavily hopped in the American IPA style, but balanced with a malt background. Winning the Award means that when drinkers see our beer in the pub, they’ll have heard of it already and will be more likely to order it.”

For the first time this year, Punch Taverns is offering to showcase the Overall Gold, Silver and Bronze cask competition winners through its Finest Cask guest ale scheme, which is made available to 1,000 of its pubs. Crucially, the listing will run during May and June, taking in the busy Euro 2012 and Diamond Jubilee trading periods.

Caption to attached image: (l-r) Simon Bartlett, Bristol Beer Factory; Julian Grocock, SIBA chief executive; Adrian Posnett, Oakham Ales

Issued on behalf of:                Society of Independent Brewers

By:                                           ShielPorter Communications

For information:                      Ros Shiel: 07841 694137 /