Pictured, left to right, at the guild awards presentation are Jonny Garrett, Katie Taylor, Judith Boyle, Will Hawkes, Susan Boyle, Eoghan Walsh, Alastair Gilmour, Martin Oates, Emma Inch, Jaega Wise, John Keeling, Tom Fozard of Roosters Brewery, Mark Dredge, Matt Curtis and Melissa Cole
Brighton-based writer and broadcaster Emma Inch has been named beer writer of the year at the British Guild of Beer Writers’ annual awards ceremony.
This is the top award in the guild’s annual competition for writing about beer and pubs, which this year received more than 140 entries across nine categories. Emma won two category awards — national media and online communication — on her way to the top prize.
She is the creator and presenter of Fermentation Radio, the UK’s only regular beer and brewing show on FM radio. She has written for a number of national and international publications, judges regularly at beer competitions, and this summer established the first Brighton and Hove Beer Week.
Adrian Tierney-Jones, chair of judges this year after taking the beer writer of the year title in 2017, said: “All the judges found it exceptionally hard to choose the winners and runners-up from the very strong field of entries received this year.
“As someone who has written about beer for 20 years, it is heartening to see the impressive levels of knowledge, energy and passion in beer and pub writing, and also to see the growing media interest in the subject.
“It’s always good to see new voices receiving recognition in our awards, and tonight’s roll of honour includes writers who only joined the guild this year, proving that our robust judging rewards talent, not time served.
“Everyone who received an award or a commendation should be extremely proud; they really are the cream of British beer writing in 2018 and we wish them all success in their future career communicating about beer and pubs.”
He was joined on the judging panel by: Amy Bryant, food editor at The Telegraph; James Cuthbertson, managing director of Dark Star Brewing and founder of the Beer and Cider Marketing Awards; Stu McKinlay, co-founder of Yeastie Boys; Jenn Merrick, founder of Earth Station Brewery; Mark Taylor, Bristol-based food and drink writer; and Zoe Wood, retail correspondent at The Guardian.
The guild’s brewer of theyear title, presented at the same time as those for writing, was this year shared for the first time by two candidates who drew level in a poll of guild members: John Keeling, recently retired from Fuller’s, and Jaega Wise, head brewer at Wild Card Brewery.
Presenting these awards, guild chairman Pete Brown said: “Both John and Jaega are worthy recipients. John’s contribution to brewing has been immense, from championing traditional cask ale to creating contemporary crowd-pleasers with craft brewers, while also being an advocate for gender equality in the industry, appointing a woman head brewer to succeed him.
“Jaega has not only been producing outstanding beers, but has also worked tirelessly to promote beer among the general public and built links with other drinks industries such as wine. Jaega has risen to become one of the most important voices of the industry, and a champion of increasing diversity and promoting equality within it.”
The winners were announced at the guild’s annual dinner held at the Chelsea Harbour Hotel. Guests enjoyed a four-course dinner, with each dish accompanied by a specially selected beer: Chalky’s Bite, from Sharp’s; Fourpure’s Oatmeal Stout; Hopopolata from Marble Brewery; Hogs Back Brewery’s OTT; and Dark Island Reserve from Orkney Brewery. Beers from the awards’ sponsoring brewers — Adnams, Fuller’s, Greene King, Heineken and St Austell breweries — were enjoyed before and after dinner.
The full list of winners
Brewer of the year: John Keeling, recently retired from Fuller’s, and Jaega Wise, Wild Card Brewery
Guild award for best citizen beer ccommunicator
Winner: Martin Oates; commended: Oli Carter Esdale
Guild award for best beer writer, corporate communications
Winner: Roosters Brewery
Guild award for best beer and travel writer
Winner: Jonny Garrett; silver award: Mark Dredge
Long Live the Local award for best writer about pubs
Winners: Jessica Boak and Ray Bailey; commended: Bob Jeffrey
St Austell Brewery award for best young beer writer of the year
Winner: Eoghan Walsh; silver award: Katie Taylor; commended: James Beeson
Heineken award for best beer communicator, online
Winner: Emma Inch; silver award: Matthew Curtis
Fuller’s London Pride award for best beer writer, trade media
Winner: Will Hawkes; silver award: James Beeson; commended: Matthew Curtis
Adnams award for best beer writer, regional media
Winner: Alastair Gilmour; silver award: Susan and Judith Boyle
Greene King award for best beer writer, national media
Winner: Emma Inch; silver award: Melissa Cole
The Michael Jackson Gold Tankard for beer writer of the year 2018