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Champion Beer of Britain

A History

Arguably one of the most prestigious beer competitions in the world, the Campaign for Real Ale’s Champion Beer of Britain (CBOB) title has the potential to bring a struggling brewery back from the brink, or catapult a little known producer to dizzy new heights.

Laura Hadland

A food and drink writer, photographer, competition judge & CAMRA member. Laura’s blogs at Extreme Housewifery and is the author of ’50 years of CAMRA’. She runs a creative agency for SME’s called Thirst Media. 

Beer dispense containers 

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Emma Inch

A CAMRA member since 1997, John is volunteer with a keen interest in the technicalities of beer dispense, a GBBF bar manager, editor of Manchester’s Beer Buzz magazine and sits on CAMRA’s Technical Advisory Group.

Originally known as the Beer of the Year competition, it was first held at the second Great British Beer Festival (GBBF). This took place at the Alexandra Palace in London in the summer of 1978. The process has altered slightly over the years, but essentially CAMRA members nominate beers for inclusion in regional heats. Those beers compete head to head in a range of style categories. The winners, and the winners of the winter styles categories judged at GBBF Winter, go head to head at a blind judging at the GBBF and the style category victors as well as an overall winner is announced on Trade Day.

At the inaugural competition two supreme champions were named – Thwaites Best Mild and Fullers ESB. Both beers have enjoyed long, illustrious careers and are still supped by discerning drinkers up and down the country. They’re not the only Champion beers that have enjoyed a surprising degree of longevity. Nottingham’s Castle Rock brewery won with Harvest Pale in 2010 and a recent survey by the city’s CAMRA branch showed that it is still the most widely sold beer in Nottingham.

 

Originally known as the Beer of the Year competition, it was first held at the second Great British Beer Festival (GBBF). This took place at the Alexandra Palace in London in the summer of 1978. The process has altered slightly over the years, but essentially CAMRA members nominate beers for inclusion in regional heats. Those beers compete head to head in a range of style categories. The winners, and the winners of the winter styles categories judged at GBBF Winter, go head to head at a blind judging at the GBBF and the style category victors as well as an overall winner is announced on Trade Day.

At the inaugural competition two supreme champions were named – Thwaites Best Mild and Fullers ESB. Both beers have enjoyed long, illustrious careers and are still supped by discerning drinkers up and down the country. They’re not the only Champion beers that have enjoyed a surprising degree of longevity. Nottingham’s Castle Rock brewery won with Harvest Pale in 2010 and a recent survey by the city’s CAMRA branch showed that it is still the most widely sold beer in Nottingham.

“…first held at the second Great British Beer Festival (GBBF). This took place at the Alexandra Palace in London in the summer of 1978

 

— Laura Hadland

Fullers already had a long association with CAMRA. Their first ever national beer festival in the Covent Garden’s old flower market in 1975 was only able to go ahead because of Fuller’s intervention. The festival had had to move venue at the last minute so the organisers hadn’t had the opportunity to apply for an event licence. The Fullers’ directors stepped in to help and were in court applying to hold the licence on the Campaign’s behalf at 10.30am when the festival was due to open at midday!

In the first seven years of the competition, Fullers won the top prize a total of four times.They enjoyed three wins with ESB and one with London Pride in 1979. This is particularly remarkable, because before CAMRA had risen to prominence and brought an eager audience back to cask conditioned ale, Fullers had drawn up a plan to convert into a keg brewery and leave cask ale behind. The brewery was at rock bottom and had to invest or die.

They had already gone some way down the road by the time CAMRA had helped cask beer to recover some of its importance, investing in conical fermenters for the enclosed fermentation of beers for kegging.

Fullers already had a long association with CAMRA. Their first ever national beer festival in the Covent Garden’s old flower market in 1975 was only able to go ahead because of Fuller’s intervention. The festival had had to move venue at the last minute so the organisers hadn’t had the opportunity to apply for an event licence. The Fullers’ directors stepped in to help and were in court applying to hold the licence on the Campaign’s behalf at 10.30am when the festival was due to open at midday!

In the first seven years of the competition, Fullers won the top prize a total of four times.They enjoyed three wins with ESB and one with London Pride in 1979. This is particularly remarkable, because before CAMRA had risen to prominence and brought an eager audience back to cask conditioned ale, Fullers had drawn up a plan to convert into a keg brewery and leave cask ale behind. The brewery was at rock bottom and had to invest or die.

They had already gone some way down the road by the time CAMRA had helped cask beer to recover some of its importance, investing in conical fermenters for the enclosed fermentation of beers for kegging.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam lobortis vel sapien nec faucibus. Morbi consectetur pulvinar lectus, vitae sodales tellus. Sed sagittis aliquam convallis. Duis mollis libero eu massa luctus, id euismod urna fringilla. Aenean condimentum accumsan leo nec eleifend. Maecenas ullamcorper est non justo pulvinar accumsan. Nam facilisis, lacus a aliquet ornare, metus velit mattis leo, eget sodales quam ligula et nisl. Morbi venenatis tortor libero, id placerat ipsum semper a.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nullam lobortis vel sapien nec faucibus. Morbi consectetur pulvinar lectus, vitae sodales tellus. Sed sagittis aliquam convallis. Duis mollis libero eu massa luctus, id euismod urna fringilla. Aenean condimentum accumsan leo nec eleifend. Maecenas ullamcorper est non justo pulvinar accumsan. Nam facilisis, lacus a aliquet ornare, metus velit mattis leo, eget sodales quam ligula et nisl. 

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