Sainsbury’s has crowned Bad King John, made by Henley-based Ridgeway Brewery, as the winner of this year’s Great British Beer Hunt, with Caesar Augustus, from the Williams Bros brewery in Scotland, runner-up.
The results follow a grand final which saw eight beers fight it out for the prize of a six-month listing in Sainsbury’s stores nationwide from mid-November this year.
The Great British Beer Hunt kicked off earlier this year, starting with 120 beers from around the country which went head to head in a series of regional heats. Having been selected by customers and judges, 16 finalists went on sale for a three-week period in Sainsbury’s stores. Eight beers then made it through to the final of the Great British Beer Hunt in London where Bad King John was crowned winner.
Bad King John was created as a counterpart to Ivanhoe – a beer created by Ridgeway Brewing specifically for the Swedish market, where it has been a great success.
Brewer Peter Scholey, of Ridgeway Brewery, said: “This is a fantastic reward for our team who worked very hard to create this product. We sell our bottled beers all around the world and until now you could buy Bad King John in Mexico but not in the UK. To know that UK consumers are now going to be able to enjoy this remarkably drinkable, rich and flavoursome black bitter ale gives us enormous pride and we can’t wait to see it on the shelves!”
The final, which took place at The Brewery in the City of London, was attended by trade members and beer enthusiasts alike, who were able to sample the host of beers on offer. Joining them was a panel of industry experts, including Sarah Jane Evans (BBC Good Food) and beer writers Jeff Evans and Ben McFarland, who were responsible for whittling down the eight finalists to two ultimate winners.
Recognising the depth of talent of UK brewers, Sainsbury’s relaunched the Great British Beer Hunt in May this year, with a view to bringing something new and exciting to Sainsbury’s shelves for beer-loving shoppers. Following the grand final, Oliver Chadwyck-Healey, beer buyer at Sainsbury’s, said: “The response from brewers and beer enthusiasts has been unprecedented and we’re delighted to have been part of supporting the great British brewing industry and offering something new and exciting for our customers. Well done to all the breweries involved and huge congratulations to our winners!”
The 16 finalists were:
Wild Hop IPA, Harviestoun Brewery, Clackmannanshire, Scotland
Caesar Augustus, Williams Brothers, Alloa, Scotland
Profanity Stout, Williams Brothers, Alloa, Scotland
Flying Dutchman Wit Bier, Caledonian Brewing Co, Alva, Scotland
Ivanhoe, Ridgeway Brewing, South Oxfordshire
Bad King John, Ridgeway Brewing, South Oxfordshire
Stronghart, McMullen & Sons, Hertfordshire
Bishop’s Farewell, Oakham Ales, Peterborough
Wye Not, Wye Valley Brewery, Herefordshire
Churchill Ale, Oxfordshire Ales Ltd, Bicester
Golden Seahawk, Cotleigh Brewery, Somerset
Full Bore, Hunter’s Brewery, Devon
Two Hoots Golden Ale, Joseph Holt, Manchester
Golden Summer, Wold Top Brewery, Yorkshire
Frederic’s Great British Ginger Beer, Frederic Robinson, Stockport
Worcester Sorcerer, Sadler’s Ales, Stourbridge