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Selling Champion Beers

pint-with-handleIt's a thrilling world for today's cask aficionado – publican as well as drinker. But the proliferation of breweries and brands vying for stillage space brings its own problems of bewilderment and disorientation, suggesting that some purchasing guidance might be in order.

When you've made your pub a showcase for top quality cask beer, full of discerning and returning customers who sample your real ales with confidence in your cellar skills, you've reached a point where it's the brewer's craft that's in the spotlight, rather than your own cask-handling abilities.

It's likely you'll have created that necessarily balanced portfolio of familiar, local, unusual, seasonal and special beers, with a range of flavours, colours and styles, and you'll know your regular patrons well enough to customise your changing selection to suit their preferences.

So what more could/should you do?

Well, if you're proud of being a shop window for the best that cask brewers have to offer, surely you're the obvious place to highlight beer competition winners.

Most if not all CAMRA festivals, held at venues across the country throughout the year (details at http://www.camra.org.uk/yearofbeer), make a 'beer of the festival' award. Best known are the national titles of Champion Winter Beer of Britain and Champion Beer of Britain (see 2012 winners below), competed for in style categories by nominated branch and regional winners.

SIBA hosts seven regional beer competitions, at which brewers enter their ales in eight cask categories. All winners go forward to the national finals with the awards, including an overall Supreme Champion, presented each March at the annual conference (see 2012 winners below).

Of necessity the International Brewing Awards are less cask-focused and less British in their broader scope – except of course for the four cask ale prizes! These are divided into classes by ABV (see 2011 winners below).

So there's plenty at local and national level for the enthusiastic cask publican to get stuck into. And many wholesalers and distributors will make a point of stocking and publicising the latest prizewinning beers; not to mention the breweries themselves, who thrive on recognition in such an intensely competitive modern market – and are never backward in coming forward when they've received prestigious accolades for their beer quality.

All cask drinkers, whether loyal to one brand that is a familiar favourite or promiscuous in their appetite for anything and everything that appears on guest pumps, will be unlikely to resist an opportunity to try a competition champion.

Everyone loves a winner and, with winning cask ales on your bar, everyone will be a winner!

CAMRA Winners 2012

Champion Winter Beer of Britain

Overall Champions

Gold- Driftwood, Alfie’s Revenge (St Agnes, Cornwall)
Silver- Cairngorm, Black Gold (Aviemore, Highlands)
Bronze- Coniston, No 9 Barley Wine (Coniston, Cumbria)

Old Ales and Strong Milds
Gold- Driftwood, Alfie’s Revenge (St Agnes, Cornwall) 
Joint Silver- Nant, Mwnci Nell (Llanrwst, Conwy) 
Joint Silver- Brunswick, Black Sabbath (Derby, Derbyshire)
Bronze- Beowulf, Dark Raven (Brownhills, Staffordshire)

Porters
Gold- Hammerpot, Bottle Wreck Porter (Poling, West Sussex)
Silver- Blythe, Johnson’s (Hamstall Ridware, Staffordshire) 
Bronze- Sulwath, Black Galloway (Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway)

Stouts
Gold- Cairngorm, Black Gold (Aviemore, Highlands) 
Silver- Cambridge Moonshine, Black Hole Stout (Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire)  
Bronze- Acorn, Gorlovka (Wombwell, South Yorkshire)

Barley Wines
Gold- Coniston, No 9 Barley Wine (Coniston, Cumbria)
Silver- Moor, Old Freddy Walker (Pitney, Somerset)
Bronze- Isle of Skye, Cuillin Beast (Uig, Isle of Skye)

Champion Beer of Britain

Overall winners 2012:

Gold- Coniston, No.9 Barley Wine (from Coniston, Cumbria)
Silver- Green Jack, Trawlerboys Best Bitter (from Lowestoft, Suffolk)
Bronze- Dark Star, American Pale Ale (from Horsham, West Sussex)

Mild category-

Gold- Rudgate, Ruby Mild (from York, North Yorkshire)
Silver- Hobsons, Hobsons Mild (from Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire)
Bronze- Son of Sid, Muckcart Mild (from Little Gransden, Bedfordshire)

Bitters-

Gold- Purple Moose, Snowdonia Ale (from Porthmadog, Gwynedd)
Silver- Tintagel, Castle Gold (from Tintagel, Cornwall)
Joint Bronze- Flowerpots, Bitter (from Cheriton, Hampshire)
Joint Bronze- Fuller’s, Gale’s Seafarers Ale (from London, W4)
Joint Bronze- Salopian, Shropshire Gold (from Shrewsbury, Shropshire)

Best Bitters-

Gold- Green Jack, Trawlerboys Best Bitter (from Lowestoft, Suffolk)
Silver, Salopian, Hop Twister (from Shrewsbury, Shropshire)
Joint Bronze- Oakwell, Senior Bitter (from Barnsley, South Yorkshire)
Joint Bronze- Milton, Pegasus (from Milton, Cambridgeshire)

Golden Ales-

Gold- Dark Star, American Pale Ale (from Horsham, West Sussex)
Silver- Cumbrian Legendary Ales, Langdale (from Hawkshead, Cumbria)
Bronze- Hobsons, Town Crier (from Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire)

Strong Bitters-

Gold- Dark Star, Festival (from Horsham, West Sussex)
Silver- O’Hanlon’s, Stormstay (from Whimple, Devon)
Bronze- Highland, Orkney IPA (from Swannay, Orkney)

Speciality Beers-

Gold- Dunham Massey, Chocolate Cherry Mild (from Dunham Massey, Gtr Manchester)
Silver- Little Valley, Hebden’s Wheat (from Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire)
Bronze- Nethergate, Umbel Magna (from Pentlow, Essex)

SIBA Winners 2012

 Supreme Champion of the Competition

Brewery

Product

ABV

Gold

Oakham Ales

Green Devil IPA

6.0

Silver

RedWillow Brewery

Wreckless

4.8

Bronze

Salopian Brewery

Lemon Dream

4.5

Champion Standard Mild Ales

Brewery

Product

ABV

Gold

Dorking Brewery

Black

3.5

Silver

Hobsons Brewery

Hobsons Mild

3.2

Bronze

Three B’s Brewery

Stokers Slake

3.6

Champion Standard Bitters

Brewery

Product

ABV

Gold

Prescott Ales

Hill Climb

3.8

Silver

Hawkshead Brewery

Windermere Pale

3.5

Bronze

Butcombe Brewery

Mendip Spring

3.8

Champion Best Bitters

Brewery

Product

ABV

Gold

Forge Brewery

Litehouse

4.3

Silver

Salopian Brewery

Oracle

4.0

Bronze

Marble Brewery

Manchester Bitter

4.2

Champion Premium Bitters

Brewery

Product

ABV

Gold

RedWillow Brewery

Wreckless

4.8

Silver

Tintagel Brewery Ltd

Harbour Special

4.8

Bronze

Grain Brewery

Redwood

4.8

Champion Strong Bitters

Brewery

Product

ABV

Gold

The Highland Brewing Company

St Magnus

5.2

Silver

Derby Brewing Company

Quintessential

5.8

Bronze

Salopian Brewery

Golden Thread

5.0

Champion Premium Strong Beers

Brewery

Product

ABV

Gold

Oakham Ales

Green Devil IPA

6.0

Silver

Elland Brewery Limited

1872 Porter

6.5

Bronze

Brampton Brewery Ltd.

Winter Bock

6.0

Champion Porters, Strong Milds, Old Ales & Stouts

Brewery

Product

ABV

Gold

Dancing Duck Brewery

Dark Drake

4.5

Silver

Oakham Ales

Black Hole Porter

5.5

Bronze

Ossett Brewing Company

Treacle Stout

5.0

Champion Speciality Beers

Brewery

Product

ABV

Gold

Salopian Brewery

Lemon Dream

4.5

Silver

TSA Brewing company

Double Espresso

4.8

Bronze

The Backyard Brewhouse

Gold

4.1

Champion Bottled Beers

Brewery

Product

ABV

Gold

Bristol Beer Factory

Southville Hop

6.5

Silver

Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd

Hooky Gold

4.2

Bronze

Peerless Brewing

Jinja Ninja

4

Champion Bottled Bitter (up to 4.9%)

Brewery

Product

ABV

Gold

Salopian Brewery

Darwin’s Origin

4.3

Silver

Cumbrian Legendary Ales

Langdale

4.0

Bronze

Stonehenge Ales Ltd

Great Bustard

4.8

Champion Bottled Bitters (over 5%)

Brewery

Product

ABV

Gold

Bristol Beer Factory

Southville Hop

6.5

Silver

The Inveralmond Brewery Ltd

Blackfriar

7.0

Bronze

The Hurns Brewing Co Ltd

Cwrw Idris

5.2

Champion Bottled Gold Beers

Brewery

Product

ABV

Gold

Hook Norton Brewery Co. Ltd

Hooky Gold

4.2

Silver

Hobsons Brewery

Hobsons Twisted Spire

3.6

Bronze

Forge Brewery

Litehouse

4.3

Champion Bottled Speciality Beers

Brewery

Product

ABV

Gold

Peerless Brewing

Jinja Ninja

4.0

Silver

Stonehouse Brewery

Wheeltapper’s Wheat Beer

4.5

Bronze

Harviestoun Brewery

Ola Dubh

8.0

Champion Bottled Porters, Milds, Old Ales & Stouts

Brewery

Product

ABV

Gold

The Kernel Brewery

Imperial Brown Stout (London1856)

10.1

Silver

Harviestoun Brewery

Engine Oil

6.0

Bronze

The Celt Experience Ltd

Newmans Cave Bear

4.


International Brewing Awards 2012

Champion Beer - Highland Brewing Co Ltd, Orkney IPA, UK

 

Class 1 for Cask Ale: 2.9% - 3.8%

Moorhouse's Brewery

Black Cat

UK

Hawkshead Brewery

Windermere Pale

UK

Hook Norton Brewery

Hooky Dark

UK

 

Class 2 for Cask Ale: 3.9% - 4.3%

Liberation Brewery

Liberation Ale

Channel Islands

St Austell Brewery

Tribute

UK

Evan Evans

Cwrw

UK

 

Class 3 for Cask Ale - 4.4% - 4.8%

Highland Brewing Co Ltd

Orkney IPA

UK

Oakham Ales

Bishops Farewell

UK

S A Brain

S A Gold

UK

 

Class 4 for Cask Ale: 4.9% - 6.9%

Highland Brewing Co Ltd

Orkney Blast

UK

Woodforde's Norfolk Ales

Admiral's Reserve

UK

Marston's PLC

Jennings - Snecklifter

UK