November 28th, 2010
Episode 27 of 645 episodes
A distiller, a brewer and a cider maker - but who will be the first winner of the Food and Farming Awards Best Drinks Producer Award? Oz Clarke joins Sheila Dillon in Birmingham's NEC to reveal all. Food writer and critic Charles Campion and restaurateur and writer Mark Hix were the judges for this category and talk Sheila through the finalists. In this first year of the Best Drinks Producer category the judges were overwhelmed with nominations for innovative entrepreneurs making all manner of juice, perry, teas, and wines. But the three drinks chosen - a cask ale, a spirit and a traditional cider - have been made in these islands throughout our history. Sipsmiths are one of a new generation of artisan distillers riding the coat-tails of pioneer distiller Julian Temperley who battled H M Customs for the right to distil. Simpsmith's were awarded the first London distillers licence in nearly 200 years, and now produce a London gin and a barley vodka from their west London residential neighbourhood distillery. Mike Henney's Herefordshire ciders are the result of a hobby that got out of hand. From airing cupboard tinkering via farmers markets the brand is now sold throughout the country's main supermarkets, making good quality cider accessible to all. Henney's ciders all have protected name status, with apples sourced from within Herefordshire and the cider is made in a traditional way. Wye Valley Brewery is a family business started by Peter Amor and now run by his son Vernon. It brings new meaning to local produce - beers are only sold within 50 miles of the brewery, the majority of hops are grown within 7 miles, and one beer, the Dorothy Goodbody Imperial Stout, even used Herefordshire malting barley.