Friday, 28 March 2014

Real Ale News round-up 2014-03-28

Leeds Brewery wins at Publican Awards
Mar 27th 2014, 15:36

Congratulations to Leeds Brewery, who won the Best Microbrewing Pub Company at the Publican Awards 2014, announced earlier this week.

John Bishop; SIBA chief executive Julian Grocock and Leeds Brewery managing director Sam Moss

This Award, run in association with SIBA, is designed to reward 'a pub company that combines a successful microbrewing business with operating quality beer-focused pubs.' Judges looked for evidence of how effectively the brewing and pub businesses complement each other.

Leeds Brewery is, according to judges, "a business with everything: the beers are good, the pubs are brilliantly designed and great to be in, the food is of a very high standard." They continued, "Leeds Brewery manages to combine the best of youthful vigour and a wisdom you'd expect in a much older company. Each pub feels like a Leeds Brewery pub, and yet is its own place at the same time. Each manager is empowered to develop the pub offering, and their passion is obvious."

They also praised the brewery for working closely with the local council to select non-pub sites to turn into pubs. Choosing the right site can be instrumental in turning around depressed areas in Leeds.
Leeds Brewery was one of three SIBA members shortlisted for the Best Microbrewing Pub Company Award this year. The other two finalists, Sonnet 43 Brew House and Brewhouse & Kitchen, were cited by judges as "very likely future winners of this award."

SIBA chief executive Julian Grocock said, "This category is a challenging one as it demands excellence in brewing and retailing – two very different skills that aren't always found within one small organisation. It is evident that Leeds Brewery is managing to combine both to build a flourishing business and are worthy winners of this award, which SIBA is delighted to support."

Grocock presented the Award to Leeds Brewery managing director Sam Moss at the Publican Awards ceremony in London, which was compered by comedian John Bishop

Pubco bosses submit 'manifesto' to Chancellor
Mar 27th 2014, 09:08, by (James Wallin)

George Osborne received a 'manifesto' for the pub industry from three industry CEOs when he visited Banks's Brewery on Monday.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Real Ale News round-up 2014-03-27

Maldon Chronicle published Hurdlemakers Arms in Maldon is CAMRA Real Ale Pub of the Year
Mar 27th 2014, 08:37
A PUB in Woodham Mortimer was celebrating this week after it was declared the district's real ale pub of the year.The Hurdlemakers Arms, in Post Office Road, has beaten off competition from the 360 pubs in the district to win the Maldon and Dengie Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) award for the first time.Gary, 44, and Nettie Pilcher, 46, have been tenants of the Gray & Sons pub for the past seven ...

Greene King to teach licensees how to promote their pubs on social media
Mar 26th 2014, 12:36, by (James Wallin)

Greene King is introducing training to help licensees in its tenanted and leased estates promote themselves on social media.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014


The White Lion, Alvanley, hosted an evening of murder…all in aid of charity.

The Cheshire pub welcomed suspects through its doors to participate in a very special murder mystery event which was written by landlord and multiple Robinsons licensee Darren Sayle.

Set in modern day, the event focused around the untimely death of a barmaid at the local favourite. With hand-pulled cask ale flowing and suspicions heightened, amateur Sherlock Holmes and Watsons’ attempted to solve the classic ‘who-dun-it’. After pointing the proverbial finger at several accused, it was ultimately the unlikely character of the village vicar who committed the murder most foul.

Publican Awards 2014: Winners crowned at glittering London ceremony


Oakman Inns and Young's were double award winners at the Publican Awards 2014 last night, with many of the industry’s leading pubcos recognised for their successes.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Real Ale News round-up 2014-03-25


Norman Baker: We listened to the pub industry on personal licences
Mar 24th 2014, 17:02, by (James Wallin)

Friendly local pubs and breweries are key community assets and play an important role in people's lives. We mustn't lose sight of the many positive contributions made by the alcohol industry.

Marston's to create 3,000 new jobs following Chancellor's beer duty cut
Mar 24th 2014, 15:44, by (Ellie Bothwell)

A 1p cut in beer duty has enabled Marston's to create 3,000 new jobs over the next two years, the pub company has announced on the same day Chancellor George Osborne visited the brewery.

Award-winning Boscombe bar scoops local CAMRA group's pub of the year honour
Mar 24th 2014, 13:26

AN AWARD-WINNING bar in Boscombe has just been voted Pub of the Year by East Dorset CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale).

CAMRA chief Mike Benner to leave for SIBA top job
Mar 24th 2014, 10:57, by (Mike Berry)

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has named Mike Benner, currently chief executive at the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) as its new managing director.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Real Ale News round-up 2014-03-24


SIBA appoints CAMRA chief to top job
Mar 24th 2014, 11:19

Photo of Guy Sheppard and Mike Benner

Guy Sheppard and Mike Benner

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has named Mike Benner, currently chief executive at the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) as its new managing director.

Benner's appointment follows a strategic review of SIBA which will see it combine the management of the trade association and the commercial arm to create a unified organisation. Under the new structure, approved by members at its AGM earlier this month, Benner will lead a SIBA Executive to run the organisation with the Board of Trustees continuing to provide oversight, direction and ultimate control of SIBA.  The 24 trustees are drawn from the eight SIBA regions.

SIBA chairman Guy Sheppard said, "I'm delighted that Mike is joining us to lead our expanded organisation. His political astuteness, proven campaigning ability and passion for great British beer make him uniquely well-placed to take SIBA forward.

"Our trade association and commercial arms have a shared goal of helping our members to thrive within a favourable political, social and trading environment for British beer. Aligning our activities into one unified structure puts us in a stronger position to realise this ambition."

Sheppard continued, "As a long-standing trustee of SIBA, I am proud of the organisation's growth from small beginnings 30 years ago. The position we now occupy, as a respected trade body with considerable political clout, is thanks in large part to our chief executive Julian Grocock, who has raised SIBA's profile immeasurably over his last seven years at the helm."  Grocock, who chose not to apply for the new managing director role, continues as chief executive until Benner's start on 16 June.

Nick Stafford, SIBA's commercial director, will continue his valuable work with the organisation under Benner's direction. Sheppard said, "Without Nick, SIBA's commercial venture would not be the huge success it is today.

"Nick has worked tirelessly to help SIBA brewers find a market for their beers, most notably creating the Direct Delivery System (DDS) which over the past decade has placed local beers in thousands of pubs that would otherwise have been closed to them."

Benner has been chief executive at CAMRA for 10 years during which time the organisation's membership has doubled and it has been placed on a financially stable platform. He has been at the forefront of many campaigning successes including the scrapping of the hated beer duty escalator and planning reforms to benefit pubs.

Mike said, "I'm very proud of CAMRA's achievements and it's been an honour to be part of such a great organisation. I leave in the knowledge that CAMRA is fit for purpose to continue its success. I am very excited to join SIBA at a time when there is such enormous opportunity for independent brewers and I look forward to working towards its vision to build the future of British beer."

Caption to attached image (l-r): SIBA chairman Guy Sheppard and Mike Benner

SIBA members support trade session to celebrate growth of London brewing
Mar 24th 2014, 09:29

Once again, the London Drinker Beer & Cider Festival held a trade session dedicated to London beers and were delighted when 14 SIBA members dedicated to support the session.

The event, held on the Thursday afternoon of the Festival, was for trade guests only and around 230 brewer reps, licensees and beer writers registered for the session. These were completed by a variety of local Councillors, who were invited to reinforce the importance of pubs and local breweries to London's economy. A brief speech was made by the Mayor of Islington, who pulled a pint of SIBA member, East London Brewing's Wheat Porter.

Christine Cryne, Festival Publicity Manager, said '30 years ago, when the London Drinker Beer & Cider Festival first opened its doors, there were only 8 breweries in London and 9 brewpubs. At the latest count, this number has grown almost 4 fold; a staggering 42 breweries and 19 brewpubs and the Beer Festival had over a third of them on a bar dedicated to just London breweries!'

Christine added 'We have been so delighted in the feedback on the trade session that we intend to run it again next year. Also, we are looking to increase the number of London beers on the bar and would welcome any other London SIBA members to come and take part in the 2015 Festival'.

The Festival was run entirely by unpaid CAMRA volunteers.

For further details: contact Christine Cryne 07932 736 827;

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Real Ale News round-up 2014-03-22

Finalists for BII Licensee of the Year 2014 announced
Mar 21st 2014, 15:09, by (James Wallin)

The finalists for the British Institue of Innkeeping (BII) Licensee of the Year Award have been unveiled ahead of the 13 May ceremony.

BBPA urges publicans to check they receive business rate relief and flood support
Mar 21st 2014, 14:37, by (Ellie Bothwell)

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) is urging licensees to check they receive their business rate relief and has issued new guidance for pubs affected by the recent floods.

Chelmsford launches late-night levy consultation
Mar 21st 2014, 09:39, by (Ellie Bothwell)

Pubs, bars and clubs in Chelmsford will be able to submit responses to a possible late-night levy from next Thursday (27 March), as the council becomes the latest authority to consult on whether to introduce the fee.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Real Ale News round-up 2014-03-21

Success in the 2013/14 London and South East Area Champion Beer of Britain competition! 300's Old Ale Wins Again…
Mar 21st 2014, 10:59

The Chiltern Brewery are thrilled to have had more success in the 2013/14 London and South East Area Champion Beer of Britain competition.

Their 300′s Old Ale was judged Silver in the Old Ale & Strong Mild Category, a really great accoladefor a beer that they have been brewing consistently for many years now.

The finals of the area competition took place after a year of beer tastings, tasting panels and nominations. Successful beers are submitted from these into the style final and are conventionally judged by a panel made up of journalists, fellow brewers, and, of course, a few CAMRA members – so we are truly honoured to have been a winner.

WPA Pinfold at SIBA's BeerX
Mar 21st 2014, 10:48

Last week, members of the WPA team travelled down to Sheffield to exhibit at SIBA's second BeerX event, held at iceSheffield. The event hosted over 1,000 guests in the form of delegates, exhibitors and beer enthusiasts. Informative seminars were held regularly across the four days – including a talk from Steve Grossman of Sierra Nevada – and SIBA ensured a magnitude of interesting brews were available.

They spent two days exhibiting and met some great new faces in the brewing industry whilst showcasing some of their most recent work. It was great discussing all things beer and branding with brewers from all over the country. From large, established breweries to smaller start-ups, it was an excellent opportunity to keep people up to date with their fantastic achievements, and to offer valuable insights to delegates. WPA maintained live twitter coverage enabling us to immediately keep in touch with the many people they met.

For more information and live WPA Pinfold updates follow us on twitter:
Or check out our specialist brewing microsite:

Campden BRI helps microbrewers to brew better beer
Mar 21st 2014, 10:25

Campden BRI, a company which provides research, analysis and consultancy for the food and drink industry worldwide, is launching a new course to help microbrewers produce better beer.

The one day 'Improving Your Brewing' course, which will first run on 18 June at the company's world-leading brewing research centre in Nutfield, Surrey will help microbrewers improve the quality and consistency of their beer.

Brewers will learn how the various parameters at each stage of the brewing process – from grain to glass – can be monitored and controlled to reduce faults and optimise processes to make better beer. The course will also demonstrate how microbrewers can make the best use of raw materials, assess and analyse products and monitor shelf life, and improve quality control and quality assurance.

Ed Wray, Brewer and Maltster, at Campden BRI commented:

"We have seen a recent rise in interest from UK microbrewers for our services. According to the Good Beer Guide 2014, 187 new breweries started up in the UK in the last 12 months, many of which were microbrewers, so we have developed this course specifically to address some of the issues we are frequently approached about. We are the UK's leading brewing research centre, and while we work with many breweries all around the world on beer development, production and analysis, we find we are increasingly being called upon by micro-brewers to provide technical support they might not otherwise have access to."

For more information visit

Campden BRI ( provides technical, legislative and scientific support and research to the food and drinks industry worldwide – with a comprehensive "farm to fork" range of services covering agri-food production, analysis and testing, processing and manufacturing, safety, training and technical information services. Members and clients benefit from industry-leading facilities for analysis, product and process development, and sensory and consumer studies, which include a specialist brewing and wine division.

CapitalStackers impress at GB Private Investor Summit, London
Mar 21st 2014, 10:22

Steve Robson, Managing Director of CapitalStackers presented to a packed audience at the highly successful Great British Private Investor Summit in London yesterday, organised by Angel News. Some 250 high net worth and angel investors were in the audience listening to pitches from a range of crowdfunding and peer to peer lending platforms.

Following the event, Steve said:
"We are delighted with the response from investors to the business model and really encouraged by their level of interest in the platform. The completion of two deals marks an important step for us and we now look forward to the formal launch to enable us to engage with the wider investment community."

At a recent pre-launch event hosted by Hallidays LLP, CapitalStackers generated enough interest to complete its first two deals. The CapitalStackers business model seeks to engage with banks and allow investors to choose their preferred risk and return profile. That, and the fact that all deals are secured by commercial and residential real estate, made the Stockport based firm stand out in this embryonic but fast growing and dynamic sector.

CapitalStackers and its website aim to be the destination of choice for investors looking to finance property investments and development schemes. These will be high net worth individuals or sophisticated investors with a minimum of £5,000 to invest and looking to achieve a better deal than through some of the more traditional investment routes.

It is supported financially and professionally by Hallidays LLP, a firm of accountants with an excellent reputation. This is not the first time these people have come together in the world of property finance and information technology. In 1999 they set up pi-FRAME Ltd, a small and specialised software house which sells real estate lending risk analysis software to banks and property lending boutiques.

Interested parties can visit for more information.

Ilkley Brewery and Charles Faram reveal new British Hop
Mar 21st 2014, 10:11

A brand new British hop named Olicana, which was grown by Charles Faram & Co Hop Merchants, and test brewed by Ilkley Brewery, has been unveiled.

The Herefordshire-grown hop was revealed at the 2014 SIBA BeerX conference in Sheffield last week where thousands of brewers, licensees, hop growers, maltsters and craft beer fans gathered for this annual celebration of British beer.

The Olicana seed was originally sewn in 2009 and in 2013, after three years of agronomic assessment, Charles Faram and Ilkley Brewery teamed up to exclusively harvest and brew with this new hop, then, simply named 1391. Ilkley Brewery will brew exclusively with Olicana this season but it is hoped the hop will go into full scale production in 2015.

"Working with Charles Faram brings a fantastic opportunity to brew with a completely new hop that has wonderful citrus characteristics and challenges the convention that you need to source hops from the New World to brew hop-forward beers," said Chris Ives, managing director of Ilkley Brewery.

"British breweries have been importing aromatic hops from countries like America and Australia for many years now but the knock-on effect is that British hop growers have taken a back seat. Creating different and exciting hops like Olicana, and growing them here in the UK, is vital for the British hop industry to stay alive," added Chris.

Paul Corbett, managing director of Charles Faram and Co. Hop Merchants, continued: "We are delighted to have had the help and support of Ilkley Brewery with this, one of the first varieties from our new hop breeding programme. It gives us an excellent first-hand opportunity to assess the brewing potential of this new hop and we hope that it is well received."

About Olicana

The name Olicana was chosen in honour of the Yorkshire spa town of Ilkley where the five year old brewery is based: Olicana being the name of the Roman fort from which the town grew.

The Olicana hop is a daughter of the US variety, Cascade, and an English male from the Charles Faram hop development programme. It boasts mango, grapefruit and passion fruit qualities. Charles Faram is working closely with their growers to get more Olicana plants propagated and planted this year. The new breeding programme has been established to compliment the great work that Peter Darby is doing at Wye Hops Ltd, giving a two-pronged attack to the search for more highly aromatic British hops.

To find out more about Ilkley Brewery, visit: or follow Ilkley Brewery on Twitter @Ilkleybrewery and Facebook

For more information on Charles Faram, visit

50 new beers for Wetherspoon beer festival
Mar 20th 2014, 16:43, by (Robyn Black)

A plum porter, a juniper beer and a hazy wheat beer will be among some of the more exotic brews on offer at the next JD Wetherspoon beer festival.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

100-year-old St Austell Brewery bottle unearthed at dig site


Archaeologists unearthing the secrets of St Piran’s Oratory in the shifting sands at Perranporth, Cornwall have discovered what might have been sustaining the patron saint of Cornwall through his long slumber across the years – a vintage bottle of Walter Hicks Ale from St Austell Brewery.

The bottle, thought to date from around the time of the encasement of the oratory back in 1910, is in immaculate condition and came out of the sand intact with its swastika inscribed top, a feature of early Brewery bottle tops representing the Sanskrit symbol for brewing and fertility, later removed once the symbol had been adopted elsewhere as the badge of a more sinister master.

Real Ale News round-up 2014-03-20

Flood-affected pubs still battling for damage relief
Mar 20th 2014, 09:29, by (Ellie Bothwell)

Pubs hit by the winter storms have reported mixed fortunes in their attempts to recover money for lost earnings and property damage.

SIBA delighted with 'same again, George'
Mar 19th 2014, 13:48

Julian Grocock, chief executive at the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) said, "SIBA applauds the Chancellor's decision to take another penny off the pint, following last year's historic decision to scrap the unpopular escalator. It is good to see that this government believes in providing long-term support for the British brewing and pubs industry.

"SIBA's Budget submission to the Treasury this year was based on the very positive impact of the 2013 duty cut on the local brewing industry. Our members now feel more confident about the long-term prospects for their breweries, and are investing in them by buying new equipment, recruiting new staff or opening new pubs.

"This evidence of an industry buoyed by the duty cut, which we presented to government both centrally and locally, through our members' lobbying of their MPs, is one reason why we have been given what we asked for in this Budget – the 'same again, please, George.'. We promise to return the Chancellor's positive response by giving back more of the same from Britain's local brewers: more investment in breweries, jobs and pubs.

"It is particularly pleasing that, while duty concessions were given to other drinks, only beer, as our national drink, was rewarded with an actual cut in duty.

"We must also thank Andrew Griffiths MP, whose tireless work on behalf of British beer and brewing ensures that our arguments are heard at the highest level in government."

Joseph Holt looks for north-west pub estate manager
Mar 19th 2014, 12:47, by (Lesley Foottit)

Joseph Holt Brewery is looking for a tied trade manager to join the team.

Time to raise a glass to the Chancellor as beer duty is cut for second year running
Mar 19th 2014, 00:00

CAMRA is celebrating after Chancellor George Osborne today announced during the 2014 Budget that beer duty will be cut by 1p for a second year running. Thanks to the incredible

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Country charm shines through as rural pub wins CAMRA’s “National Pub of the Year” award

Lancashire Pub judged Best in Britain

A sleepy village pub has been thrust into the limelight after being named the best in the UK by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale.

In an idyllic setting across from a small stream and surrounded by green fields, The Swan with Two Necks in Pendleton, Lancashire, has beat off competition from over 57,000 pubs across the UK to be crowned CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year.

Monday, 10 February 2014

World Class Award for The Anderson

“The Top Places to Get a Beer in the World” list has just been released and the bar at The Anderson in the Scottish Highlands is one of the world’s best.

RateBeer, the internet's biggest gathering place for breweries and beer enthusiasts from around the globe holds the largest beer competition in the World. From several hundred nominees, The Anderson was chosen as one of the “Top Places To Get A Beer In The World”. This is an incredible achievement especially since The Anderson is the only one from among the nine winning pubs in the UK not to enjoy the advantage of a city centre location. Only three bars worthy of this title have been named in the whole of Scotland

February Firkins at Full Moon

Another full moon is nearly upon us. February Firkins at Full Moon will be held on Saturday 15th, the day after Valentine's Day. Wining and dining on the Friday maybe and beer at Bleangate Brewery on the Saturday - what a weekend! This month there are local folk singers and musicians to entertain with traditional music and witty songs.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

CAMRA research shows expanding supermarket chains are calling last orders on hundreds of pubs

Research conducted by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, shows that 2 pubs a week were converted to supermarkets during 2012 and 2013.

CAMRA say losing two pubs a week in this way is unacceptable and supermarkets are being accused of specifically targeting pubs for redevelopment, often despite the outcry of local residents who want the building to remain in business as a public house.

The figures, based on national research carried out by CAMRA’s members, identified 208 pubs which have been converted to supermarkets since January 2012. The research also shows that Tesco are by far the most prolific pub converters, with 110 in the last two years – that’s over three times more conversions than any other supermarket chain. Sainsbury’s are a distant second with 29 pub conversions and even The Co-operative, who are part of a movement which backs community pub ownership, come in at third with 23.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

George & Dragon Nominated for National Award

The George and Dragon in Holmes Chapel have been nominated for a prestigious award. Marketing Cheshire has put the pub forward for the title of the ‘Tourism Pub of the Year’ in the Visit England Awards for Excellence 2014, the 25th anniversary of the Visit England event.

In 2013 the George and Dragon won the Taste Cheshire awards for Excellence in ‘Customer Service’ and ‘Best Pub in Cheshire’.

Latest news