December 19, 2008

Tesco Drinks Awards Winners

By Andrew Barrow In Tasting Reports

Flying Dog Pale Ale

I sneaked a look under the blank covering, guiltily, just to see which my favourite beer from the tasting was. I took a clandestine snap with the mobile too (as pictured). Assigned a table with several other tasters – brewers quality control managers, beer critics, pub-magazine writers – a highly enjoyable time was had tasting (not spitting, you don’t spit beer) and rating various beers blind for the 2009 Tesco Drinks Awards.
Tesco organises this event every year giving the winners a guaranteed listing in national and regional Tesco stores for a minimum of 12 months.

The Tesco Drink Awards are designed to champion regionality and small producers, giving them a route to market and wider exposure to the UK consumer.

Now I think the bottle pictured is Flying Dog Classic Pale Ale brewed by the Flying Dog Brewery in Maryland, America. As you can read in the press release below this won the Best Bitter and Ale category – which must have been the table I slurped around – so it would appear my fellow judges were as impressed as I was!
Coming to a Tesco near you then, Flying Dog Classic Pale Ale.

Tesco Beer Tasting - Tesco Drinks Awards

The results of the Tesco Drinks Awards 2009 have just been announced, with the winners guaranteed listings at Tesco stores from April next year.

In addition to some home-grown success at both a national and regional level, winners came from as far afield as the USA, Lithuania and Martinique. Covering a range of product types and styles, all share one common characteristic – they are new to the UK multiple market.

Of the four national beer listings up for grabs, only one went to a British brewery. Brewdog, the winners of last year’s regional heat, won the Lager category with Scream. But it was the Flying Dog Brewery in Maryland, USA that took the Awards by storm, winning Best Bitter & Ale for Flying Dog Pale Ale and Best Porter & Stout for Flying Dog Gonzo Porter. Although based on different sides of the Atlantic, these two innovative breweries share not only an irreverent marketing image but also a modern – and obviously successful – approach to traditional beer styles.
Rum was the flavour of the day in the spirits categories, with both listings being awarded to variations of this resurgent spirit. The Dark Spirit award went to Angostura 7 Year Old Dark Rum from Trinidad, while the White Spirit award went to the Trois Rivieres Blanc 40 from Martinique.

In line with current trends, the Awards also included categories to recognise excellence in the production of Innovative and Lower & No Alcohol drinks. The Innovation Award went to Twisted Tea, a ‘hard’ iced tea from Cincinnati, Ohio that caused a stir with its refreshing take on a classic favourite. The Lower & No Alcohol winner was Bernard Free Amber, another excellent product from the Czech Republic but at only 0.5% abv.

In addition to the national listing winners, six regional tastings were held to showcase exciting new products from smaller brewers around the UK. The product names – Busy Fool, Druid’s Fluid – are as eclectic as the beer styles, but all these winners are proof that, given the opportunity, regional beers are more than a match for the big brands.
Products were judged blind by teams of experts recruited from the industry and press, and coordinated by Tim Hampson (Beers) and Dave Broom (Spirits).
Dan Jago, Category Director Beers Wines and Spirits, comments “At Tesco we are committed to bringing new, exciting products to the market. Great drinks deserve shelf-space and a chance to gain access to the UK consumer, and that is exactly what these Awards are designed to achieve.”

1 Comment
  1. Dylan December 20, 2008

    Ah, what a tough life judging this must have been. I’m familiar with Flying Dog as a brand popular amongst one of my very good friends, he always raves about it, so he’ll be pleased with this news. As for myself, I will definitely check out the Angostura 7. For rum, I’m normally a big fan of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum.


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