The All Party Parliamentary Beer Group has awarded me Beer Sommelier of the Year 2013. I am honoured to receive such an accolade from a Group which exists,
“To promote the wholesomeness and enjoyment of beer and the unique role of the pub in UK society; to increase understanding of the social, cultural and historic role of brewing and pubs in the UK and their value to tourism; to broaden recognition of the contribution of brewing and pubs to employment and to the UK’s economy; to promote understanding of the social responsibility exercised by the brewing and pub industries; to support the UK’s brewing industry worldwide; and to promote a positive future for beer and the pub.”
I was presented with the award at the Group’s annual awards dinner in London on 10th July exactly one year after becoming the first woman* in the UK to be accredited as a Beer Sommelier.
But what is a Beer Sommelier?
The Beer Sommelier accreditation programme began in 2011 and is run in the UK by The Beer Academy, which is a part of the IBD (Institute of Brewing & Distilling).
The concept of a Beer Sommelier is relatively new but there is growing interest in the idea and the role. Here in the UK it might best be described as a qualified ‘beer ambassador’ – someone who shares their expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm to promote beer as drink to be taken seriously rather than just necked thoughtlessly.
Beer Sommeliers give talks about beer and also host tastings, talks and events aimed at bringing beer to everyone; from those who have never tried it or know little about it, to people who already enjoy it but would like to know more, on to those who love beer and enjoy nothing more than time spent in the company of others who feel the same way, sharing their favourite drink.
For details of the Beer Academy Sommelier accreditation visit: http://www.beeracademy.co.uk/courses/beer-sommelier/
*A handful of other women have qualified since I was accredited, including Annabel Smith of Cask Marque who sat her exam the same day as me but not until the afternoon. By which time I was already in the pub celebrating my results…