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5th April 2018

Winners announced in inaugural London Beer Competition

A stout from a brewer in Spain’s Basque country has taken the only Gold medal at the inaugural London Beer Competition, leading a field of 21 medal winners from the judging that took place in the capital last month.

Black Gold, an 8.5% ABV stout aged in rum barrels from the Basque Oak Brewery, was awarded the 90+ points required to take a Gold by a panel of 12 beer experts. Eight beers were awarded a Silver medal after scoring between 76-89, with a further 12 taking away a Bronze (65-75 points). Sambrook’s Brewery from London took three Silver medals, and the Brewery of the Year title.

The London Beer Awards were launched in late 2017 by global drinks experts Beverage Trade Network, plugging a gap in the market for an award that judges beers in the way that consumers judge them – assessing not just their taste, but also their packaging and value for money.

Chief executive of Beverage Trade Network Sid Patel said, “At all the major competitions, beers are judged solely on the quality of what’s in the bottle or can. We wanted to take a different approach, by asking our judges to look at beers the way shoppers do, adding appearance and value for money into the mix.

“The best-tasting beer in the world will stay on the supermarket shelf unless the pack design and price point appeal to the consumer. Equally, if the taste doesn’t live up to expectations, there will be no repeat purchase.

“Including all three factors in the judging produces results that are closer to the reality of the way consumers purchase beers and gives brewers better feedback on how their beers are perceived by shoppers.”

At the judging session, judges tasted and scored beers ‘blind’ before seeing bottles or cans and marking them for on-shelf appeal as well as value for money.

The majority of the medals went to UK brewers, though beers from Spain, Italy, the USA and Sri Lanka were also winners. Reinforcing the robustness of the London Beer Competition, many had won awards in other contests, including Sambrook’s Brewery, based in Wandsworth, who took the Brewery of the Year title after scoring more points than any other brewer and three Silver medals. Best in Show awards went to Wold Gold from Yorkshire brewer Wold Top and Dark Island Reserve from Orkney Brewery, as well as to Sambrook’s and Basque Oak.

Patel said, “Launching a new competition is exciting but also daunting, especially when it radically changes the way beers are judged. We’re delighted with the first London Beer Competition, which attracted entries from award-winning brewers in the UK and further afield and a panel of respected industry judges.

“We are already making plans to run the competition again in 2019 and will be opening entries towards the end of this year.”

Duncan Sambrook, founder of Sambrook’s Brewery, said, “We’re delighted to have taken three medals in this inaugural competition and to win the accolade of best brewer.  Winning these awards in the city where we have been brewing for 10 years is a great endorsement of all the hard work our brewing team have put in.

“The fact that this competition, unlike most beer contests, assesses beers not just on the taste, but also the packaging and value for money, is a welcome addition and gives us a realistic picture of how consumers view our beers.  We will be shouting about our success and looking forward to selling more of our great beer.”

Mitch Adams, beer buyer at London-based Borough Wines, said, “Seeing the packaging was a great addition to the judging, and well-managed so we didn’t have preconceptions when tasting the beers.

“I’d like to see more competitions find a way to include packaging, as it’s important to buyers and it’s evident that the industry still needs feedback on what sort of branding is acceptable. Hopefully comments from events such as this will help the drive for equality and diversity throughout the industry.”


London Beer Competition Gold

  • Black Gold – Basque Oak Brewery

London Beer Competition Silver

  • Wold Gold – Wold Top Brewery
  • Saison – LA Cotta Brewery
  • Dark Island Reserve – Orkney Brewery
  • G- String – Funky Bow Brewery
  • So Folkin’ Happy- Funky Bow Brewery
  • Battersea Rye- Sambrook’s Brewery Limited
  • Battersea IPA- Sambrook’s Brewery Limited
  • Russian Imperial Stout – Sambrook’s Brewery Limited

London Beer Competition Bronze

  • Radical Road – Stewart Brewing


  • First World Problems – Stewart Brewing
  • Dark Secret – Monty’s Brewery
  • AKUA – Basque Oak Brewery
  • Legra Pale – Leigh on Sea Brewery
  • Lion Stout – Lion Brewery (Ceylon) Plc
  • The Raven – Sonnet 43 Brew House
  • Stout Brummie – Birmingham Brewing Company
  • Gold Brummie – Birmingham Brewing Company
  • Midnight Special – Funky Bow Brewery
  • Impressment – Sonnet 43 Brew House
  • WooHa Porter – WooHa Brewing Company

Beer Of The Year

  • Black Gold – Basque Oak Brewery

Brewery of the Year

  • Sambrook’s Brewery

Best In Show (By Country Category)

  • Wold Gold – Wold Top Brewery

Best In Show (By Package)

  • Dark Island Reserve – Orkney Brewery

Best In Show (By Value) –(£2.25)

  • Battersea Rye – Sambrook’s Brewery

Best In Show (By Quality)

  • Black Gold – Basque Oak Brewery

Caption to attached image: judges at the first ever London Beer Competition





Beverage Trade Network is leading online marketing and B2B networking platform servicing suppliers, buyers and beverage professionals in the global beverage industry. BTN provides a selection of sourcing solutions for importers and distributors as well as an extensive range of marketing and distribution services for international suppliers. BTN also owns BevRoute, a magazine for Importers and Distributors and runs a lineup of trade shows around the world which includes USA Trade Tasting in New York, International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show in LondonInternational Bulk Wine and Spirits Show in San Francisco.

Issued on behalf of:    London Beer Competition

By:                              ShielPorter Communications

Further information: / 07841 694137 / 07734 054389