All Hail To The Ale

Waitrose beerOffice worker, Graham Nelson, this week saw the beer he originally crafted in his kitchen, go on sale in a supermarket. Graham, 39, who first tried making beer only a year ago, has won a U.K. competition which searched to find the best home brew. His winning entry hits the shelves of Waitrose today (Thursday 9th October).

waitrose beer 2The Great British Home Brew Challenge, organized by Waitrose ad Derbyshire’s Thornbridge Brewery along with Brew UK, launched in June 2014. Its quest was to find the best pint made by the growing number of hobby brewers making beer in their kitchens, garages and sheds around the nation.

After receiving over 200 entries, a panel of top drinks experts gathered in August to judge the wide range of beers received, naming Graham’s Vienna IPA their top tipple.

Since winning the competition, Nelson, a father from Holmes Chapel in Cheshire, has worked with Thornbridge to brew and bottle his recipe, ready for launch.

Graham says “Since learning that I’d won it’s been a fantastic experience to be involved in helping Thornbridge’s brewers scale-up my recipe and make the beer. I only make forty bottles when home brewing so to see ten thousand bottles packaged and ready to be sent out was quite humbling!”

Rob Lovatt, Head Brewer at Thornbridge said, “I knew Graham’s beer was going to be in the running for best homebrew the moment I tasted it. It was solid, well-balanced, clean and had a modern hop profile which really stood out. We have closely followed Graham’s recipe to keep true to the batch he first made at home.”

Waitrose has seen a rise in demand for real ales and craft beers with sales up 10%. Waitrose Beer Buyer, Kate Prall said, “We think Graham’s beer will be a hit with ale fans. Its crisp, well-rounded flavour will be the perfect accompaniment to a warming curry this autumn.”

The Home Brew Challenge Vienna IPA will be available in 70 Waitrose shops nationwide, including in Graham’s home county of Cheshire, for £2.50, 500ml.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.