North East Microbrewery is announced as Finalist in National Pub Industry Awards
Sonnet 43 Brew House has been announced as a finalist in the Best Microbrewing Pub Company category of The Publican Awards, with the winner to be announced at the award ceremony in London next month.
These national annual awards recognise achievement within the pub industry with 18 categories covering all aspects of running pub establishments, from small operations to very large pub companies. The criteria for Best Microbrewing Pub Company award is brewing less than 10,000 barrels a year with at least one quality, beer-focused pub.
This is an incredible achievement for the brewery, based at Coxhoe County Durham, having only been trading since late 2012. In that time Sonnet 43, which was named after the well-known verse by Elizabeth Barratt Browning, who was born and raised at nearby Coxhoe Hall, have made serious progress. Their beers have sold in more than 300 outlets across the North East & North Yorkshire and won Great Taste Awards and they have also opened three brewery taps – The Lambton Worm, Chester le Street, The White Lead, Hebburn and The Clarence Villa, Coxhoe – which serve the Sonnet 43 beers, as well as a range of complimentary British style food using locally sourced ingredients. And they aren’t slowing down, with plans for 2014 including expanding the brewing capacity and launching more tap venues.
The rigorous judging for the awards consisted of 3 stages, first being the paper application and the second, site visits. In their case, these were carried out by renowned beer writer, Pete Brown, who explored the achievements highlighted in their entry. This was followed by mystery visits to further assess the application with the final stage involving the brewery’s owner, Mark Hird, being interviewed by a judging panel of industry experts.
Last year’s winner was Ossett Brewery, based in West Yorkshire, which is a far larger, more-established operation with over 20 pubs and producing around 4 times the amount of beer. This year, Sonnet 43 is up against well-known, Leeds Brewery, and Brew House & Kitchen, based at the South Coast.
The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on Tuesday 25 March at London’s prestigious Grosvenor House Hotel. Liverpudlian comedy, John Bishop, will be hosting and Keith Lemon, of Celebrity Juice fame, will be appearing to presenting an award on behalf of alcopop brand Hooch, whose advertising campaigns he is currently the face of.
Mark Hird commented “I’m thrilled to be a finalist for a national accolade of this kind; Sonnet 43 still being a relatively new business this in itself is an achievement. I also think it demonstrates that our format of great tasting, award winning craft ales with fresh, local food really works and has serious potential.”
Asked about whether he thought they’d win he said “We’re up against 2 other strong contenders. I think we’ve shown the judges that we’re passionate about great beer and what is really different about us so we’ll just have to wait and see.”
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