SIBA recognises Austin and Prentice with Lifetime Achievement Awards
The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has given Lifetime Achievement Awards to the late Peter Austin, one of the organisation’s founders and its first chairman, who died in January, and to Derek Prentice, who retired last year from Fuller’s after a distinguished career in the brewing industry.
The Awards were announced at SIBA’s BeerX event in Sheffield by chairman Guy Sheppard, who said, “We are delighted to recognise the enormous contribution made by both Peter and Derek to British beer and brewing. Their passion, skill and dedication have influenced generations of brewers and helped to create the buoyant local brewing industry that we are all part of today.”
Presenting Peter Austin’s award to Nigel Welsh, one of his colleagues from the early days of Ringwood Brewery, Sheppard said, “SIBA owes its very existence to Peter, who was one of the 20 or so pioneering microbrewers who founded the Small Independent Brewers’ Association in 1980. He served as our chairman for five years and began the campaign for Small Breweries’ Relief, which, when granted in 2002, totally transformed the British brewing industry.”
After a long career at Hull Brewery, Austin founded Ringwood Brewery in 1978, where he created Old Thumper, the beer that helped to put British microbrewing ‘on the map’ when it won the CAMRA Champion Beer Award in 1988.
On his retirement from Ringwood, Austin helped to set up 40 new breweries in the UK in just 10 years and then toured the world, doing the same in a number of countries including China, France, Nigeria, Russia and the US. In total, he built some 140 breweries in 17 countries. His influence on British beer is “immeasurable”, said Sheppard.
Derek Prentice was also praised for fostering young brewing talent, helping many new start ups with advice and support. He was one of the founding members of the London Brewers’ Alliance, which represents the burgeoning number of brewers in the capital.
Prentice’s brewing career was spent in London, after he started at Truman’s of Brick Lane at the age of 18. He moved to Young’s, where he re-introduced dry-hopping in cask and created the multiple award-winning Special London Ale. His passion for aromatic hoppy beers blazed a trail for the plethora of modern IPAs so prevalent today. In 2006, Prentice became brewing manager at Fuller’s, from where he retired last year.
Prentice said, “Receiving this recognition from my colleagues and peers means an enormous amount to me, after a long career in this wonderful industry. I have watched with delight the growth of SIBA from humble beginnings more than 30 years ago and, closer to my London roots, the explosion of brewing in the capital in recent years.
“Through my involvement in the London Brewers’ Alliance, advising these new brewers, I hope I’ve been able to put something back into brewing – and I’ve certainly learned a lot from them. Brewing is a tremendously supportive industry, which is why I’ve enjoyed my many years in it.”