We are just a little bit excited about CAMRA North London’s upcoming low alcohol beer competition.
CAMRA has been a great support to our pub guide, helping us put together a great list of lower alcohol beers available in the UK, but even they had to admit the list was a little thin. And even at CAMRA beer festivals, the alcohol content of the beers seems to be going up every year, despite new brewing technology allowing the production of great lower strength beers, which make events and tastings more ‘sessionable’.
The competition is part of London Drinker Beer & Cider Festival, and will hopefully flush out some of the London talents we know are out there, and provide us with a few new drinks for our craft beer stands at this year’s Mindful Drinking Festivals.
The competition organiser, Christine Cryne, says: “We welcome entries from any brewery, big or small, in any format, draught, can or bottle, the more the merrier! And we have put together a fantastic list of experienced judges to find us the very best beer.”
The regulations on the labelling of non-alcoholic and lower alcohol drinks are a mess. At the moment, beers under 3% ABV can’t legally be called or even promoted using the word ‘lower’ – discouraging UK producers. Drinkaware sponsorship of the competition shows a growing acknowledgement that being able to direct people to lower strength beers can be helpful to changing drinking habits.
Traditionally shy of promoting specific brands, this clearly signals a shift from Drinkaware that will not only boost our calls for drinks under 0.5% ABV to be called alcohol-free (rather than low alcohol) and will give winning brewers the Drinkaware seal of approval. We will be interested to see who they choose – and we are hoping that the judges pick some under 0.5% beers for an award too. And I would personally like to see a similar competition for ciders!
Want to take part in the low alcohol beer competition? The rules are below.
We will be writing more about the entrants and the winners in the months to come.
You can taste the entrants to the competition at the London Drinker Beer and Cider Festival on Wednesday 14th to Friday 16th March.
To enter email firstname.lastname@example.org
London Drinker Beer & Cider Festival
Low Alcohol Competition – Your Questions Answered!
You may have seen in the trade press that the Festival is running a low alcohol competition, sponsored by Drinkaware. This will give you the information you need to enter.
1. Can anyone enter the competition?
Any brewer brewing in Greater London can enter.
2. Can I enter if I am not supplying the Festival with other beer?
Yes. You do not have to be supplying the Festival.
3. What strength does the beer need to be to enter?
Anything of 3% or below.
4. Does it need to be a regular beer?
No, it doesn’t have to be a regular brew; it can be a one off.
5. What beer style can it be?
It can be any style, British or International.
6. Can I enter more than one beer?
Yes, you can enter two if you wish.
7. What does it cost to enter the competition?
Thanks to Drinkaware’s sponsorship, it’s free to enter.
8. What format does the beer need to be it?
It can be any format, draught (cask or keg), can or bottle. If you are not supplying the beer to the Festival as part of an order, and wish to supply ‘draught’ you can bring the beer the afternoon before in a carryout.
9. How much do I need to supply?
4 pints or equivalent
10. When does the competition take place?
On the morning of Wednesday 14th March.
11. Who is judging the beer?
Mitch Adams Brewery Below, Borough Wines & Beers
Bill Austin CAMRA
Pete Brissenden The Bottle Shop
Gillian Gibson Land of Liberty, Peace & Plenty, Rickmansworth
Paul Hegarty Honorary Secretary, All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group and Honorary Secretary, The British Pub & Beer Group in the European Parliament.
Susanna Forbes Drinks writer, editor & judge
John Keeling Fuller, Smith & Turner Brewery
Zeph King Real Ale Ltd
Nigel Owen Queens Head, King’s Cross
Joel Silver Drinkaware
12. When will the announcement of the winner be made?
The Wednesday lunchtime session (14th March). The cup will be handed out at the Trade Session on Thursday 15th March (3-5pm)
13. When do I need to supply my beer?
By 3.20pm on Tuesday 13th March to Camden Centre, Bidborough Street, London WC1H 9AU.