Highland's Ales hailed as the World's Best
‘Wee Orkney’ brewer scoops gold hat-trick in toughest international beer challenge
The Highland Brewing Company, one of Scotland’s most northerly brewers, is toasting an outstanding triumph of five world class accolades for its cask ales – including a hat-trick of golds – at the brewing industry ‘Oscars’.
The ten year old Orkney brewer enjoyed its latest success at the International Brewing Awards (IBAs) in Burton on Trent – a bi-annual beer challenge judged by the world’s toughest taste panel of brewers.
Three of Highland’s beers were proclaimed gold winners in their respective classes: Island Hopping (Cask 3.9% to 4.3%); Pale Ale (Cask 4.4% to 4.8%) – winning for the second successive year; Sneaky Wee Orkney Stout (Dark Beer 3.8% to 4.7%). Also Highland’s Oat Stout (Dark Beer 4.8% to 5.7%) claimed a silver award while Light Munro (Cask 2.9% to 3.8%) won bronze in the low strength cask ale section. The Championship awards for each class, judged from the gold winners, will be announced on April 29 at a gala event in London’s Guildhall.
First launched in the 19th century, the awards now attract around 1000 entries from some 50 countries in categories from lagers and ciders to stouts and strong cask ales and are judged by brewers and cider makers from around the world.
The gold award for Island Hopping follows hard on the heels of its success at the SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) Scotland Region Beer Competition 2014- voted Overall Champion Beer for the second year. The ‘incredibly drinkable hoppy, pale beer’- will again be judged at the national SIBA BeerX contest in Sheffield next month (March); last year it won gold in its class at the annual competition.*
A family run 20 barrel-brew-length plant, Highland Brewing Co was founded by head brewer Rob Hill at Swannay, Orkney, in 2005.
Since then the beers have collected many awards-including Champion Cask Ale for Orkney IPA at the International Brewing Awards 2011. The latest triumph boosts Highland’s plans for future growth this year with new branding planned to highlight the awards, new fermentation vessels to streamline production and brewing plant brought from Guernsey to treble production capacity. This will enable Highland to expand exports and meet growing UK demand whilst maintaining the Orkney provenance.
Welcoming the IBA success, founder and head brewer Rob Hill said: “Collecting five awards for cask ales in any one year is certainly an outstanding and possibly a unique result in the long history of the contest.
“We know we are brewing excellent beer and take great care, using the very best quality hops and malts. But these brewing awards are judged by the toughest taste panel drawn from the world’s top brewers.
“To have one beer praised in the cask beer category as among the best ales in the world is wonderful; to have five recognized, with three gold awards, is beyond our wildest dreams. Not a bad win at all for a wee brewer from Orkney. After the success at SIBA it greatly bolsters our ambitions to treble capacity so we can reach a wider audience.’’