Leading supermarket group Sainsbury’s is once again on the search for outstanding microbreweries around the country, as it today begins its Great British Beer Hunt for 2012.
The annual competition sees beer brewers around the UK put forward their best bottled tipples for the chance to be crowned Britain’s best beer and be stocked in Sainsbury’s.
Along with the overall winner and runner up making it onto the grocer’s shelves, this year will see five local winners declared following regional hunts in London, Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh.
Sainsbury’s says that 150 brewers have already signed up for this year’s competition, with each brewery allowed to enter multiple beers.
Andy Phelps, Beer, Wines and Spirits Category Manager at Sainsbury’s, said: “The ultimate aim of the competition is to give our shoppers a great choice of interesting beers in store by giving brewers the opportunity to win listings with us for their very best beers.
“We listened to feedback from brewers last year and we decided to include a regional listing in the competition so that brewers producing small volumes better suited for a local market can get involved too.”
There are currently around 850 microbreweries in the UK, a record high spurred on by a growing consumer appetite for traditional ales.
Last year 120 beers battled it out in the Sainsbury’s competition, with Henley-based Ridgeway Brewery winning with its beer Bad King John while Caesar Augustus from Williams Bros Brewery in Scotland finished second.
By the end of the summer this year, 20 finalists will have been chosen and will then be stocked at the retailer for three weeks. The best selling beer over the test period will be crowned the winner and receive a guaranteed six-month listing in Sainsbury’s stores across the country.
Phelps added: “The whole team is really excited about the Great British Beer Hunt, especially with 2012 being such a big year for all things British, thanks to the Jubilee, Olympics and Paralympics.
“The live element of the competition is really important to us and gives the Sainsbury’s team a chance to meet our beer-loving shoppers and find out what they really think.”