Bristol brewery wins prestigious National Award
An independent Bristol brewery has won one of the UK’s top food and drink awards, recognising not just its beers but its role in regenerating South Bristol.
The Bristol Beer Factory in Southville has won the ‘Best Drinks Producer’ in the BBC Food and Farming Awards, the ‘Oscars’ of the industry.
The award was presented at a ceremony last night and the brewery will be included in a special awards programme to be aired on BBC Radio Four at 12 noon on Friday (25th November).
The shortlisted entrants were decided on votes from the public and the winners by an expert panel of judges chaired by chef and restauranteur Richard Corrigan.
The judges liked the fact that the Bristol Beer Factory is at the heart of the community in Southville and Ashton and central to the regeneration of the area. They also loved the Brewery’s ‘Twelve Stouts of Christmas’ idea of a dozen beers specially-created to celebrate the festive season, including one made with fresh raspberries, which are being launched this Saturday (26th November).
George Ferguson, founder of the Bristol Beer Factory says: “We see this as an accolade for Bristol and the craft beer industry as a whole and feel very lucky to be representing independent brewers up and down the country who put so much care and attention into producing high quality craft beers.”
“We strongly believe that independent local businesses, whatever they are, are capable of producing higher quality products and services than national mass-producers and they make a vital contribution to the local economy supporting local suppliers and investing proceeds into the area.”
Chair of judges Richard Corrigan said about the winners: “They are working hard to save some of our greatest craft skills and artisinal traditions and reflect where Britiain is today and give us optimism for our future.”
Bristol Beer Factory was founded six years ago after a chance conversation in the Tobacco Factory, when George Ferguson decided to buy the building which now houses the brewery, which was then under threat. Originally known as the Ashton Gate Brewery, which boasted 120 pubs in the area, it was closed after Georges Brewery took it over in 1933 and the building stood empty since then. Initially unsure about what to do with it, George came up with the idea of returning it to brewing over a drink in the bar of the Tobacco Factory over the road.
The BBF started out as a traditional brewer but in the past couple of years has moved to the forefront of the craft brewing industry.
George continues: “As an architect interested in place-making, I believe that beer-making, along with great good, can play an important role in regenerating an area. Pubs have always been the heart of any community and we feel there should be local beers to go in them. But it’s not just about the ales we create, it’s also about being part of the local community and local economy. Like other independ
ent brewers, we’re not aiming to be the biggest, but strive to be the best we can.”
The Bristol Beer Factory is having an Open Day at the brewery this Saturday to launch their ‘Twelve Stouts of Christmas’, with beers to sample, specially made ‘beery’ food, brewery tours and goodies to buy for Christmas.