The winning sommelier for the UK is Jane Peyton, who is a beer writer and drinks event organiser. Jane will be invited to present the beers at the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group’s Annual Dinner held in Westminster on July 9th.
The judges also awarded a second prize for the first time this year for International BII Beer Academy Beer Sommelier of the Year to Hans Tryggvason. Hans, an Icelander, works in the gastropub, Håndverkerstuene, in Oslo.
Applicants were whittled down to a shortlist of eight, from which four contenders were selected for a rigorous interview with the judging panel. They were asked to suggest beer matches for the three course BII Annual Lunch menu, conduct a tutored tasting of a bottled craft beer and demonstrate how to present a beer in perfect condition in a pub environment.
Caroline Nodder, Brand and Business Development Director of the BII and chair of the judging panel said “We always knew that we would have a tough job on our hands and we were not disappointed. All the candidates were clearly passionate about beer and pubs but came to the subject from very different angles.
“Jane emerged as the winning UK Sommelier by dint of the sheer volume and diversity of her beer knowledge and activity. She trains bar staff, runs brewery tours, arranges beer festivals and writes books on the subject. She has huge passion for beer and a rare knack of bringing a complex subject alive to the non-expert.”
“Hans brings a great sense of playfulness to his work. He has developed the concept of ‘beer brawls’ where he challenges Norwegian brewers to produce the best beer matches for a three course dinner – and the winner is decided by a vote of the sixty diners.”
“Beer is by far the most popular drink chosen in pubs, making up 55% of all alcohol sales, so getting it right is critical to a pub’s success. Over the coming year, we will be working with Jane, Hans and the Beer Academy to help BII members understand how they can maximise the value that beer delivers to their businesses.”