Cheers! Brewery, cake shop and a preserves company celebrate top food awards
- Credit: Ashley Pickering/Anglia Picture Agency
The Norfolk Brewhouse has been announced as the champion of champions in the East of England Co-op Producer of the Year awards 2019, with awards also going to The Cake Shop Bakery of Suffolk and Thursday Cottage of Essex.
The brewery saw off stiff competition from fellow Norfolk brewery Woodforde's to be named county finalist alongside The Cake Shop Bakery of Woodbridge and Thursday Cottage, based in Tiptree, and was crowned overall winner during a ceremony last night at Wherstead Park near Ipswich.
BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Mark Murphy hosted the awards ceremony on behalf of the Co-op, where the county finalists and runners up (Woodfordes, Raynors and Choose Spice) were presented with certificates.
Around 19,000 East of England Co-op customers voted in the annual awards, with judges Terry Hunt, Emma Hibbert and Charlotte Smith-Jarvis interviewing the final three, ultimately making the winning decision.
Each of the judges was impressed by the enthusiasm of David and Rachel Holliday of The Norfolk Brewhouse.
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The couple demonstrated a clear love for their business and have made real strives to embed themselves in their community, supporting other local suppliers where they can. And that's not to mention the quality of their beers.
Local barley is sourced for the craft brews (each of them given a name relating to 'hares'), which range from Moon Gazer Golden Ale, Ruby Ale and Amber Ale, to Dewhopper lager.
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Community-wise, the couple revealed they brew a special beer in January and sell it at almost cost price to help out local pubs struggling during one of the quietest parts of the year.
The beer, Tobi's Tipple, is produced to raise money for testicular cancer charity It's On The Ball.
And David is planning on rolling a barrel to London to raise money for charity too.
Speaking at the time of the county win, David said: 'We are always delighted to have our work rewarded but for this competition, so much of the result rested on the votes from the public. To have this kind of feedback from customers is invaluable.
'On top of that, the event gave us the excuse for a good bit of banter between us and Woodforde's Brewery which was fun.'
Judge and Archant food and drink editor Charlotte Smith-Jarvis said: 'David and Rachel's enthusiasm and joy at being able to share what they do with us was wonderful to see during the judging process. Here are two people who have from scratch, in just a few years, built a successful business now known and loved throughout Norfolk and beyond.
'It sounds like a cliché, but David and Rachel embody the word 'passion' and it was so evident during judging how much they love what they do, how much they care about their customers, and how much they enjoy being a part of the growing food and drink community in East Anglia.
'Congratulations to not only them, but also to the regional runners up and finalists. Each of them bring their own uniqueness to the region's foodie landscape and help this area continue to be recognised as one of the finest places to buy food and drink in the UK.'
The East of England Co-op works with around 100 local producers through its multi award-winning Sourced Locally initiative, which has generated millions of pounds for the regional economy since launching in 2007. Producer of the Year plays a vital role in continuing the Sourced Locally ethos, by encouraging shoppers to consciously buy local and quality produce throughout the year.