‘Last year’s finalists displayed an unprecedented zeal about beer and cider,’ says beer sommelier, expert trainer and competition MC, Annabel Smith. ‘We want to raise the bar this year, and find the “best in class”.’
The victors will win an all-expenses paid trip to Cork in Ireland, home of Franciscan Well, Ireland’s no.1 craft beer brand, and its flagship IPA, Chieftain. As well as £500 spending money, the winners will enjoy a behind-the-scenes brewery tour, a beer-and-food matching dinner at the legendary Franciscan Well, and have a chance to explore Cork City.
Organised in partnership with UKHospitality and The Beer & Cider Academy, teams from pubs, bars, restaurants and groups are invited to enter online by 30 May.
‘This is a unique event as it takes a special kind of bar crew to be super knowledgeable about both beer and cider,’ says Imbibe Educator of the Year, Gabe Cook, The Ciderologist, one of the expert trainers.
Following an initial evaluation, the Semi-final will take place at The Beer & Cider Academy, with a day’s high-level training followed by a series of tasks to see which two teams will make it to the Final. A quick-fire University Challenge-style quiz plus a number of practical rounds including the infamous cider pour will decide the victors, with the audience and an expert panel chaired by award-winning writer Pete Brown awarding the points.
‘The teams can learn an incredible amount from our beer and cider trainers and ambassadors to take back to their venues. Last year we saw beer houses lapping up cider knowledge and vice versa,’ says Beer Ambassador, Mitch Adams, Borough Wines & Beers.
‘All stages of the competition were challenging for different reasons,’ says Sam Wheatley, captain of 2017 winners, Tappers Untapped, from the Pivovar Group. ‘We thoroughly enjoyed the experience.’