Acorn Brewery’s Barnsley Bitter has won a silver medal at the real ale industry’s most prestigious national competition.
Expert beer drinkers from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) awarded the iconic Barnsley brew second prize at the Great British Beer Festival this week.
Acorn Brewery’s best-selling pint beat off competition from hundreds of other ales produced by breweries across the UK – and beat last year’s overall gold medal winner to a bronze position too.
A 10-strong delegation from the Wombwell-based brewery attended the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia in London to accept their prize.
Acorn’s Barnsley Gold real ale and its bottled Gorlovka stout also made it through the finals of CAMRA’s national championships.
Owner of Acorn Brewery Dave Hughes said: “We are thrilled to bring back a silver medal for Barnsley Bitter from this year’s Great British Beer Festival.
“We’ve brewed Barnsley Bitter for 12 years now and its consistent high quality has been recognised year on year by a string of regional and national awards including a previous silver medal from CAMRA in 2006.
“But the competition is getting tougher as this thriving industry grows and we’re very proud that our Barnsley Bitter is still up there with the best nationally and continuing to win gongs today.
“It is fantastic to get this national recognition from CAMRA – they are the beer drinking experts and know a fine real ale when they taste one.”
Barnsley Bitter has made it to the CAMRA national finals eight times previously. The beer also won a silver award from the UK’s Society of Independent Brewers in March this year.
The Great British Beer Festival is the UK’s biggest beer festival where visitors get the chance to sample more than 900 real ales, ciders, perries and international beers produced by more than 350 breweries.
Acorn attended the event’s dedicated trade day where independent brewers get the chance to meet licensees, owners of pubs and bars, retailers and beer writers, and network with other producers in the close-knit and growing micro-brewing industry.
Barnsley Bitter is Acorn Brewery’s best-selling brand and is produced using the original strain of Barnsley Bitter yeast, dating back to the mid-19th century. The chestnut-coloured real ale combines Maris Otter malt and English hops and boasts a well-rounded, rich flavour and lasting bitter finish. It has a 3.8 per cent ABV.
Acorn Brewery, based in Wombwell, produces six permanent ales; Barnsley Bitter, Barnsley Gold, Yorkshire Pride, Blonde, Gorlovka and Old Moor Porter. It also produces a range of seasonal IPAs and kegged beers.
It was set up in 2003 and after doubling production over the last seven years, now produces around 30,000 pints of real ale every week.
Sales have increased 12 per cent in the past 12 months due to customer gains and the brewery now delivers direct to more than 400 pubs and bars in the north and midlands and supplies hundreds of others via wholesalers. It sells into the UK’s top five supermarket chains and 50 independent retailers, and has begun exporting its bottled beer to Italy via a whole sale customer.
Acorn currently has a turnover of £1.2 million and employs 12 people.
The company also owns the Old Number 7 pub in Barnsley town centre, which it acquired in 2011, and between eight and 10 percent of all its beer is now sold there.