CHAMPION brewers from North Yorkshire are bracing themselves for a monumental new year, as they look to build on and repeat their triumphant 2009.
Rudgate Brewery, in Tockwith, has been enjoying bumper sales since August, when its Ruby Mild was named the Champion Beer of Britain, becoming the first York or North Yorkshire winner of the award in its 31-year history.
The brewers increased production from 40 to 70 barrels a week – a rise from 11,520 pints to 20,160 pints – in the wake of the success, and sales have remained buoyant since. Owner Craig Lee said the firm had since increased its capacity.
“We have also installed a new cold room and things are now looking good,” he said.
“The challenge for next year is to keep plugging away and keep it up."
He said the brewery was now receiving more advance orders of the beer than ever before, and sales were now close to double what they were 12 months ago.
Mr Lee and his colleagues are now looking towards the 2010 Great British Beer Festival and dreaming of a possible repeat of last year’s success.
“We have talked about it,” he said.
“It has happened with one or two other breweries in the past, and if it did happen to us it would be great.
“But, firstly, we need to get there by winning something renowned. We won silver before, then gold, and if we could get a repeat, that would be awesome."
Only two beers have previously won the Champion of Britain award in consecutive years – Timothy Taylor Landlord in 1982 and 1983, and Crouch Vale Brewer’s Gold in 2005 and 2006.