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***Entry Deadline extended to Friday 9 June***

Does your place have the best beer and cider team in the country? Prove it!

Imbibe Live is launching The Tapsters competition in partnership with Sharp’s Brewery, The Beer & Cider Academy and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers. The contest champions the guys around the country who not only know their beers and ciders, but also understand how to look after them, and most importantly, how to serve and sell them.

‘Wine and cocktails often take centre stage on bar menus, but now we’re hoping bragging rights for the best bartenders is extended to beer buffs,’ says Imbibe Live’s Beer Ambassador, Mitch Adams, of Borough Wines & Beers.

The victors will win an all-expenses paid trip to Rock in Cornwall, home of Sharp’s Brewery and the UK’s no.1 cask ale, Doom Bar. As well as £500 spending money, the winners will go behind-the-scenes with head brewer, Andrew Madden, experience an exclusive food and beer matching dinner with Sharp’s beer sommelier, Ed Hughes, and take a speed boat ride over the infamous Doom Bar.

‘I hope we get a good cross section from tap rooms to boozers and gastropubs to fine dining restaurants,’ Adams says. ‘Beer is booming and all of the above should want to be on the bandwagon.’

Initial entries will be judged by an expert panel including Sharp’s acclaimed beer sommelier, Ed Hughes. Following this initial judging, The Beer and Cider Academy will host Round 1, where half-a-day’s training will be followed by tasks designed to find the two teams destined for the Final at Imbibe Live.

Imbibe’s Educator of the Year, beer sommelier Annabel Smith will be mistress of ceremonies, with an expert panel including award-winning writer Pete Brown, most recently garlanded for his book, The Pub, The Ciderologist, Gabe Cook, and Hughes. A quick-fire quiz will centre on general beer and cider knowledge, storing and serving, while other rounds will test food matching, fault analysis, and the teams’ perfect pour credentials.

‘The new found interest in beer among consumers means the hospitality industry has to step up to the plate with well-educated, well-informed and engaged teams,’ says Smith. ‘This competition will set the bar for beer sellers in the future.’


Entries must be received by 9 June 2017

How to enter

Entries can come from one establishment, or from a group, so gather up a team of four and appoint a Captain. Pubcos and restaurant groups can enter more than one team.

Fill in the entry form, send in your Beer and Cider List and give us a few food matches, along with your reasoning. Write a testimonial explaining why your team is the best in the land. This should be no longer than 300 words, and include examples of how you inform, engage and capture the interest of your drinkers.

The judging

Round 1, 22 June, The Beer and Cider Academy

Half-a-day’s training from experts in beer and cider serving, storing and pouring, will include fault analysis and aspirational food matching, and set you up for the semi-finals. Then we’ll let you demonstrate your skills and flair before our expert panel chooses the best two teams to go through to the Final.

The Final takes place on Centre Stage at Imbibe Live on 4 July. It will comprise a number of rounds, including a quick-fire, fingers-on-buzzers Q&A, fault identification for both beer and cider, a chance to show off your perfect pour techniques, plus a couple of mystery rounds.

The sponsors

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers – Representing operators that run 26,000 outlets and directly employ 650,000 people in the UK, the ALMR is the voice for over 90% of managed pubs, clubs, branded restaurants and cafés. Education and training are at the core of what they offer their members, a facet which is set to grow with the arrival of the Apprenticeship Levy.

The Beer and Cider Academy – Formerly known as the Beer Academy, The Beer and Cider Academy runs courses for the trade and consumer alike on all aspects of beer appreciation, leading up to the award for Beer Sommelier. Since opening its doors in 2003, over 10,000 delegates have completed its courses, including 154 Beer Sommeliers from 17 countries. Plans in 2017 include an expansion into the world of cider and the provision of a new tranche of e-learning courses.

The prize

A trip for the winning team of four to Sharp’s Brewery in Rock, Cornwall, in the company of Rachel Williams and beer sommelier Ed Hughes.

Sharp’s brews cask and bottled beer, including the nation’s number one cask ale, Doom Bar. Education for both trade and consumers has long been a priority for Sharp’s, now part of Molson Coors, with food matching and beer cocktails being just two of the aspects it leads the way with.

The Sharp’s Tapsters trip, to be taken in September or October, includes train travel from within mainland UK plus one night’s B&B, as well as travel to all venues from the accommodation and back.

In addition to the brewery tour with head brewer, Andrew Madden, and speed boat trip (weather permitting) over to Doom Bar itself, the trip will include a beer and food matching dinner with Hughes at The Mariners, the coastal pub Sharp’s operates with Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw. Williams will liaise with the winning captain after the Final to fix dates and travel.

Entries must be received by 9 June 2017. ENTER NOW!

Any queries, please contact the Competition Manager, Susanna Forbes, 07811 913971, susanna@drinkbritain.