Extensive Range Entered for the First Artisan Produce Drinks Category at the Winter Fair
December 3, 2014
On Tuesday 2 December, the Winter Fair at the Royal Welsh Showground Builth Wells was the venue for a competition that recognised artisan producers across the Welsh Drinks industry. With 74 entries, the competition proved extremely popular, and is the only competition now that recognises the various sectors of the Welsh drinks industry.
The strong team of judges was made up of Pete Brown, beer and cider writer; Deiniol ap Dafydd of Welsh food and drink company Blas ar Fwyd; and Julie Bell of the Felin Fach Griffin, near Brecon.
Monmouthshire cider company Apple County Cider took home one first place and two third places across the cider classes, with Hallets Real Cider from Hafodyrynys taking second place in the medium cider class.
The bitter/pale /golden ales category was the most popular, with over thirty entries. Beer aficionado, Pete Brown, commented on the high quality of entries in this class, “I judge in international beer awards and the ‘mediocre’ bench mark is not as high as those I was tasting in this category of Welsh ales.” Taking the first prize in this category was Masquerade by Monty’s Brewery from Montgomery, Powys. This recently launched beer is gluten free, but certainly doesn’t compromise on flavour by being so. Second prize was awarded to Conwy Brewery’s Honey Fayre, and third to Purple Moose’s festive Merry X-Moose.
The dark ales category brought a selection of ruby ales, stouts and porters to compare. Winning this was Grey Trees brewery from the Cynon Valley, with their Valley Porter. Second place was taken by Radnorshire Ales’ Mixen Black, closely followed by Pembrokeshire brewery Bluestone Brewing’s Rockin’ Robin.
For the final ale category, the judges gave the highest scores, noting the exceptionally high quality of entries in this class. One particular brewery stood out, with The Waen Brewery from Llanidloes taking the top three places with Snowball, Growling Copper, and Landmark.
With few entries in the wine categories, the judges still wanted to make an award where they felt appropriate, giving a Third place to Monmouthshire’s White Castle Vineyard for their Rosé wine.
The spirits category was dominated by West Wales distillery Dà Mhìle with their botanicals gin taking first place, and the seaweed gin following with close second. Gwynydd based producer Aerona took home a second place for their Aronia berry liqueur, and Anglesey’s Condessa Wines took a third place for a Praline Welsh Cream Liqueur.
A full list of the results can be downloaded here.
Drinks Wales was pleased to support this event in its mission to broaden the awareness of the Welsh drinks industry, and will be looking to expand the competition for 2015. Further information about producers can be seen on the Drinks Wales website.