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Congratulations: Rob Theakston of Black Sheep (center) receives the Beer Champion award from Kegstar's James Bleakley, (left) and music legend and ale enthusiast Bruce Dickinson

BBPA Awards: champions, we have champions 

A quintet of industry leaders scooped up awards this week for their efforts in making the world a better place for beer, brewing and pubs, handed out amongst the great and good thronging the British Beer and Pub Association’s annual dinner.

Black Sheep was named the Kegstar sponsored Beer Champion, with their entry based around the company’s 25th Anniversary. 

Amongst their accomplishments, Black Sheep launched their first ever lager, 54° North, created in homage to the home of the brewery in Masham, North Yorkshire. They also commissioned a five-barrel brewing plant, where all new beers are tried and tested before scaling up.

Black Sheep sales and marketing director Jo Theakston said: “We are delighted to have been recognised by the BBPA, which is the true voice of our industry and does so much to look after beer and pub companies’ interests.

"Our beers have continued to be enjoyed by so many drinkers across the country and we are proud to have taken home many awards this year, with the BBPA’s recognition being the icing on the cake."

The Craft Union Pub Company was the year’s Pub Champion. Craft Union’s rapidly expanding estate of 170 pubs that includes sites that previously struggled. They typically invest £100-120k per pub, 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 their estate. 

The Co-operative was named Off-Trade Retailer of the Year, marking the second time that the Co-op has garnered this honour. They have pioneered regional ranges in their convenience stores throughout the UK, providing a sustainable market for small brewers. The Co-operative has also effectively marketed and promoted beer with features on craft beer in Co-op Food Magazine, reaching two million consumers. Their work has been rewarded with a 15 per cent increase in sales across the beer category.

Heineken UK won the Heart of Community award, thanks to their 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. 

Heineken 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 lives. Monies raised enabled the charity to open a new facility in Edinburgh, assisting 100 men and women back into work in 2017.

Finally, Helping Britain Blossom created a partnership between Heineken and The Orchard Project. Created in 2014, over 2,200 volunteers have given more than 30,000 hours to plant or restore over 2,500 fruit trees in 150 orchards. 

After a lifetime of key roles across the brewing and pub industry spanning over 40 years, Steve Goodyear of Young’s was presented with the BBPA’s Chairman’s Award.

Today Young’s non-executive chairman, previously Goodyear was previously the PubCo’s sales & marketing director, and then for 13 years the company’s chief executive. This followed 21 years with Courage. 

The award highlighted that Goodyear steered Young’s to a new golden age, with significant management changes and huge investments in the company’s pubs and people.

The British Beer & Pub Association was originally founded as the Brewers’ Society in 1904. Its members account for some 90 per cent of beer brewed in Britain and own around 20,000 of the nation’s pubs.

Larry Nelson
th October 2017

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