The winners of the inaugural British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) industry awards were announced at the organisation’s Annual Dinner which took place at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square hotel last night.
The new awards, presented buy the BBC's Gyles Brandreth, gave a new dimension to the industry event, by recognising exceptional company and individual contributions to the brewing and pub sector in 2012. They included a special Chairman’s Award for someone who inspired the nationwide petition to stop the beer duty escalator.
The winners: -
- Heart of the Community award: Joseph Holt
- Beer Champion: Liberation Group
- Pub Champion: Daniel Thwaites
- Chairman’s Award: Chris Keating of Wychwood Brewery
"Tonight for the first time we will be celebrating the achievements of some of our members with these new industry awards," said the BBPA’s chief executive Brigid Simmonds. "These awards seek to recognise companies that are true champions of our industry and whose community engagement show what a social difference we can, and do, make to people's lives across the nation.
“Congratulations to our winners, and thank you to all our hugely impressive entries this year. They show the huge breadth of positive work done in our industry, on quality, responsibility, innovation, working with local communities and great campaigning for beer and pubs.”
Heart of the Community award 2012
Winner – Joseph Holt
The judges felt that Joseph Holt deserved this award because the company has shown that everyone, from brewery to boardroom, cellar man to Chairman, seeks to make a difference. The company demonstrates that strong leadership and encouragement is a key part of their ethos, and also illustrates a proven commitment to their local community, with long-standing partnerships with both the Christie Hospital and homes for those on low incomes.
Highly commended - Heineken UK: Heineken UK has worked with ADDaction to try to tackle some of the many complex issues surrounding alcohol and ex-offenders in Manchester with a pilot project that has the potential to make a step change across the country. The company should rightly be praised for engaging with difficult issues and difficult circumstances to try and change lives.
Beer Champion 2012
Winner - Liberation Group: The judges were all incredibly impressed by Liberation Group’s real dedication to beer. The company encourages ‘ale trails’ and informs customers on the science of brewing, whilst also promoting beer’s natural basis. It seeks to educate on variety, style and more. Its beers offer real diversity in terms of styles, presentation and innovation.
In accessing new beer drinkers; in getting existing beer lovers to try new beers, in promoting beer quality, in highlighting beers wholesomeness and in respecting the quality of beers on offer, Liberation Group is a worthy champion.
Highly commended: Charles Wells: For the company’s Bombardier campaign – that puts humour together with a professionally executed quality initiative.
Pub Champion 2012
Winner - Daniel Thwaites: The judges felt that Thwaites is setting the standard in tenant support and business partnership. It exists as an organisation that sets high expectations and meets them. The innovation behind their WayInn initiative, their high quality PubTalk magazine, their motivational company competitions, the commitment to investing in challenging pubs through Project 11 and their efforts in menu development all show a true commitment to pubs, to publicans and to their patrons.
Highly commended - Heineken UK: For an impressive investment in their pub estate, and a model for others to follow in promoting wi-fi into pubs.
Winner: Chris Keating of Wychwood Brewery: This award, given to an individual and selected by BBPA Chairman Jonathan Neame, has been given to Chris for his creativity in sparking a wider campaign, the ‘Stop the beer duty Escalator’ e-petition, which has now achieved over 100,000 signatures. The campaign saw consumers, publicans, brewers and other rise to the challenge of gathering 100,000 signatures for an e-petition challenging the Beer Duty Escalator.
It united the BBPA, CAMRA, the Society of Independent Brewers and many others, and galvanized the public to voice their outrage at the impact of the duty escalator on beer and pubs across Britain. The initiative began with Chris and the Hobgoblin brand at Wychwood Brewery.
The 'crushing' tax burden
During his speech at the Dinner, the BBPA's Chairman Jonathan Neame called for action on the brewing and pub industry’s 'crushing' tax burden, as well as highlighting some of the pub industry's achievements in the past year.
“When we pay 40 to 50 per cent of all revenues in excise duty and VAT, and Starbucks paying next to nothing - something is very wrong with our system," said Neame. This tax burden is despised by pubgoers, hated by beer drinkers, and is crushing for licensees.
"This is a tax on socialising, on communities, on friendship. It hits the poorest in our society hardest.”