Norfolk breweries lead county’s challenge for supermarket’s Producer of the Year title
- Credit: Archant
Two Norfolk breweries which embrace the county's renowned malting barley heritage are in the running to become a regional supermarket's locally-sourced hero for 2019.
Food and drink producers from across the East will compete for shoppers' votes in a bid to win the East of England Co-op's Producer of the Year competition, which celebrates produce from across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.
The six shortlisted finalists include David and Rachel Holliday of the Norfolk Brewhouse in Hindringham, near Fakenham; and Bob Bullock and Neil Bain of Woodforde's Brewery in Woodbastwick.
The Hollidays produce distinctive beers in a former barn on an arable farm in north Norfolk and believe that local produce, particularly Norfolk's world-famous Maris Otter barley, is the key to their success.
Mr Holliday said: 'This is a beautiful county full of great artisan producers and we are proud to be part of that.'
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A similar ethos drives the production at Norfolk's largest brewery, Woodforde's.
Master brewer Neil Bain said: 'We put our heart and soul into what we produce. Attention to detail is vital and we do 50 or 60 checks on our beer before it's complete.'
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The Suffolk finalists are Ian Akers and David Wright of expanding bakery business The Cake Shop in Woodbridge; and Vernon Blackmore and Jamie Symons of Choose Spice, also based in Woodbridge, which has created a range of curry pastes inspired by the tastes of South East Asia.
The shortlist is completed by Essex finalists Matt Raynor and Karen Potten of family-run sandwich business Raynors in Chelmsford; and Pele Heydon and Leah Riley, of Thursday Cottage in Tiptree, which produces jams, marmalades and curds.
Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive at the East of England Co-op, said: 'East Anglia is packed full of businesses which produce some of the most diverse and delicious products in the UK.
'From fruit, vegetables and cereals to meat, poultry and fish, we place a huge amount of emphasis on food provenance and a vast array of the products on our shelves are produced and packaged locally.
'Producer of the Year aims to celebrate the success of these businesses and I would like to urge everyone to vote and show your support for the six firms that have been picked to showcase the best of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.'
The public vote will run from January 21 to February 21. Following the vote, three county champions will be selected, before a panel of food and farming experts visit each nominee to judge who will be crowned overall Producer of the Year 2019.
• For more information on shortlisted producers, and on how to vote, visit the East of England Co-op website.