Awards for Black Sheep, Craft Union, the Co-op and Heineken UK, alongside a hugely popular chairman’s award for Steve Goodyear, were presented at the British Beer & Pub Association’s annual dinner at the Royal Garden Hotel, in London.
The winners triumphed in beer champion, pub champion, off-trade retailer of the year and heart of the community categories, which were presented, along with the chairman’s award, by BBPA chairman, David Forde, and special guest, Bruce Dickinson.
BBPA chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, said: “Huge congratulations to all our winners, and a big thank you to all those who submitted entries.
“We have had another great showcase of all we are achieving in our industry, in working to keep beer and pubs at the heart of our social lives and central to the UK economy.”
Beer champion award sponsored by Kegstar: Black Sheep
Black Sheep Brewery (founded by Paul Theakston, pictured) based its entry around the company’s 25th anniversary. To kick off the year, it offered all Masham residents the opportunity to come for a free pint in its Visitor Centre.
Black Sheep launched hosted VIP tours and, most importantly, its first ever lager, 54° North, which has been created in homage to the home of the brewery in Masham, North Yorkshire. The brewery has also launched a five-barrel brewing plant, where all new beers are tried and tested before scaling up.
These and other projects show how Black Sheep Brewery is driving innovation, while using traditional brewing equipment.
Pub champion award: Craft Union Pub Company
Craft Union aims to bring brilliant pubs back to the heart of local communities, and has built a rapidly expanding stable of 170 pubs, including sites that previously struggled. The pubs focus on sports, entertainment and community events, along with innovative refurbishments.
Craft Union typically invests £100,000 to £120,000 per pub, with the key aim of providing historical pubs with better amenities to bring communities together, whether it be watching sport, karaoke nights or sports tournaments.
Craft Union is also improving energy efficiency throughout its estate. The Sevens pub, for example, is now saving an average of 11,000 kWh per month, equal to £955.
Off-trade retailer of the year: Co-op
A winner for the second time, the Co-Operative has pioneered regional ranges in convenience stores throughout the UK, providing a sustainable market for small brewers. In supporting microbreweries, the Co-Operative has sold more than 500,000 pints of British ale.
Crucially, the Co-op has engaged with members, with more than 24,000 having a voice in developing new products and services.
The Co-Operative has also effectively marketed and promoted beer; features on craft beer ran in Co-op Food Magazine, reaching two million consumers. Their work has resulted in an impressive 15% increase in sales across the beer category.
Heart of the community: Heineken UK
Heineken’s entry focused around three community campaigns: #BrewingGoodCheer, School of Hard Knocks and Helping Britain Blossom.
With #BrewingGoodCheer, Heineken launched a nationwide campaign to tackle loneliness and celebrate the crucial role of pubs within our communities. Heineken teamed up with local charities and community pubs to host festive lunches for people who would otherwise be spending Christmas alone.
Secondly, the company used its strong rugby presence to partner with the social inclusion charity School of Hard Knocks, which runs programmes using the values of rugby to help young men and women to get back into employment and improve the quality of their life. Money raised enabled the charity to open a new facility in Edinburgh to get 100 men and women back into work in 2017.
Finally, Helping Britain Blossom, launched in 2014, created a partnership between Heineken and The Orchard Project. More than 2,200 volunteers have given more than 30,000 hours to plant or restore over 2,500 fruit trees in 150 orchards. Not only did Heineken help make a physical change happen, it brought together communities and provided them with new skills.
BBPA chairman’s award winner: Steve Goodyear
The award has been won by Steve Goodyear, of the Young’s Pub Company, after a lifetime of key roles across the brewing and pub industry spanning more than 40 years.
Steve is non-executive chairman, after 20 years’ service with Youngs, where he was previously sales and marketing director, then for 13 years the company’s chief executive. This followed 21 years with Courage.
He has steered Young’s to a new era, with significant management changes and a huge investment in the company’s pubs and people, keeping pace with the vast array of competition for consumer spend he has witnessed throughout his long career.