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Golden night for North East brewers who steal the show at Scottish Beer Awards

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It was gong after gong for producers in the North East as they dominated the Scottish Beer Awards last night.

It was a special night for North East brewers as they stole the show at the fifth annual Scottish Beer Awards.

It was an amazing evening, in particular, for Aberdeen’s Fierce Beer which struck gold not once, but four times during the awards ceremony and collected a total of 14 medals.

Other local breweries enjoying multiple success were Brew Toon Peterhead and six°north, Laurencekirk, both of which scooped two gold medals.

New brewery, Reid’s Gold Brewing of Stonehaven, won gold in Speciality Beer for Bounty Like It, a biscuit pale ale with toasted coconut.

David McHardy, operations director and Dave Grant, managing director, Fierce Beer.


Managing director of Fierce Beer Dave Grant was understandably thrilled by the brewery’s success – and somewhat overwhelmed at points of the night.

“Amazing! Really outstanding, didn’t expect all that for sure. That’s the biggest result we have had at these awards. Last year, we got 10 so it’s outstanding,” he said.

“We were part of the event and joined in the best we could from home. It was surreal, bizarre and also a little bit embarrassing to see us popping up all the time. It was a great testament to how well our brewers are doing just now. It was quite a shock to see them all rolling in, but we are super happy about it.”


With the coronavirus pandemic hitting businesses hard this year, it was heartening to see the recognition, although Mr Grant revealed the pandemic had made Fierce Beer think twice about playing a part.

“To be honest with you we weren’t sure we were even going to be entering any of the awards this year just because of the way the year had spun out, but we wanted to support the guys who put the awards together as well so we entered and we only went in for the taste awards and it worked out really well in the end,” he continued.

“A lot of the beers that got recognised were new. Since the awards last year we have changed a lot of our recipes just to make the whole range better, but there were some standouts there that were really surprising to us.

“For us, and for what we hear from our Fierce fans, a lot of people’s beer of the year was Maple Pancake which is a weird beer – a light beer with maple in it and it got recognised which was lovely to see because some people let that beer help them through the hard times because it was a weird thing and they liked it.

“It was lovely to see some of the new ones getting recognition, but what surprised us was also the IPA wins because we are not really known as an IPA producer so that was lovely too.”

Amazing work

North-east brewers stole the show and Mr Grant said it was well deserved with so much good work going on in the sector.

He said: “This is what makes it even better. You have seen the recognition for Brew Toon for all their hard work over the last number of years and Barry Reid from Reid’s Gold, outstanding getting a gold medal and, if course, six°north getting a couple too. I think if you add up all the ones the North East got we totally killed it – it was great!”

The managing director of six°north, Robert Lindsay, said: “We’re delighted to have won two gold awards for our beers at this year’s Scottish Beer Awards.

“We are particularly proud of the win for Wanderlust Wheat, a beer that has been with us since we started brewing back in 2013. It’s been a firm customer favourite for some time, so it’s great to see it win the accolade of Best Session Beer!

“Both Aldi and The Scottish Beer Awards do a grand job of supporting our industry. It has given all of us brewers a real boost on what has been an incredibly difficult year. The awards are also a great time to reflect on the sheer quality that is coming out of Scotland right now!”

Windswept Brewing in Lossiemouth were also celebrating after the scooped Product Development Team of the Year.

Loch Lomond Brewery won the top award being named Scottish Brewery of the Year after a year in which they trebled production with a new brewery, managed a detailed rebranding and built relationship with UK and online suppliers.

The fifth annual ceremony attracted a huge entry attracting 35 breweries and 314 beers, all of which are made in Scotland, and blind tasted by a judging panel of 30 expert tasters.

The results reveal a tantalising list of 19 of the highest rated beers in Scotland, judged purely on appearance, flavour and taste according to leading industry experts.

Ferry Brewery won Beer of the Year for Ferry Black, an 8% Liquorice Porter after it scored the highest average mark in the competition.

Difficult year

Hilary Jones, chair of the Scottish Beer Awards judging panel, said: “Like most businesses, especially those involved with the hospitality sector, it has been a deeply difficult year for breweries.

“The great news is that despite multiple obstacles thrown their way in 2020, many Scottish breweries, more than just survived – they adapted and innovated.

“They have shown resilience, looked after their staff, and continued to produce high quality product despite a rapidly changing business market.

“The Scottish Beer Awards has shown us once again the strength, skills and great people at the heart of our brewing sector and we are delighted to reward the best of them with deserved recognition and medals in advance of the all-important Christmas sales period.”

The competition was sponsored by Aldi, who have backed the awards since their inception.

Graham Nicolson, Group Buying Director, Aldi Scotland, commented: “The quality and diversity of Scottish beer continues to be applauded and we are delighted to offer our customers a growing range of interesting and popular beers at all our Scottish stores.  Congratulations to all the winners and we look forward to continuing our hard work together in 2021.”

Fierce Beer’s medal winners.

Local winners were:

Best Amber or Dark Ale: Bronze – The J’Ale, Brew Toon

Best Amplified Beer: Bronze – Very Big Moose, Fierce Beer.

Best Barrel-aged Beer: Gold – Barrel-Aged Imperial Cafe Racer, Fierce Beer; Silver – Bourbon Barrel-Aged Very Big Moose, Fierce Beer.

Best Fruited Sour Beer: Gold – Sour to the People, Brew Toon. Bronze – Origins Brewing, Acres, Fyne Ales

Best Fruit-Forward Beer: Gold – Raspberry Carronade, Brew Toon; Silver – Cranachan Killer, Fierce Beer; Bronze – Mango Unchained; Brew Toon.

Best Imperial or Double IPA: Gold – Fancy Juice, Fierce Beer.

Best IPA: Gold – Split Shift, Fierce Beer. Bronze – Hop Pinata, WooHa Brewing Company.

Best Juicy or Hazy Beer: Silver – Late Shift, Fierce Beer.

Best Pale Ale: Silver – Winter Sunshine, Spey Valley Brewery.

Best Pilsner: Bronze – Fierce Pilsner, Fierce Beer.

Best Porter: Gold – Cafe Racer, Fierce Beer; Silver – Dirty Sanchez, Fierce Beer.

Best Session Beer: Gold – Wanderlust, six°north; Silver – Heffen Heff; Fierce Beer.

Best British-style Ale: Silver – Wolf, Windswept Brewing Co

Best Sour Beer: Gold – BA Hopocrisy; six°north; Silver – Fierce by Nature: Brett IPA, Fierce Beer; Bronze – Blood of Nidhoggr, Fierce Beer.

Best Speciality Beer: Gold – Bounty Like It, Reid’s Gold Brewing Company; Silver – Maple Pancake, Fierce Beer.

Best Stout: Bronze – Stout Keith, Keith Brewery.

Product Development Team of the Year: Windswept Brewing.