The Oxoid Awards for Beer Quality and Brewery Hygiene have recognised a number of innovative moves in the field, with the first prize given to a comprehensive training package to promote hygiene.
This is the first year of these awards which are organised in conjunctionwith the Institute and Guild of Brewing. The judges - which included Dr George Philliskirk,Head of Technical Department, Carlsberg-Tetley Brewing Limited, Northampton;Dr David Long, Director of Brewing, British Beer and Pub Association andAlison Smith, Marketing Manager, Oxoid Limited - were impressed by the factthat breweries of every size entered and could demonstrate significantimprovements, with the winners chosen for the wider implications to theindustry as a whole.
First prize went to Alison Aitchison, Scottish Courage Brewing for her workin the design and implementation of a novel hygiene training package for allbrewing production and associated personnel. Having completed her diplomain advanced food hygiene, Aitchison recognised the need for a hygiene trainingcourse that is specific to brewing. Although various hygiene awarenessinitiatives were available to the food industry, none of them met all theneeds of the brewing industry.
"Brewing microbiology is very different togeneral food microbiology," Alison explained. "We look for a different setof organisms beer spoilers for a start, and also the jargon is very different. It's important that we have something more specific to theindustry, with subject matter that is entirely relevant to brewing."
Encouraged by her colleagues, Aitchison designed her own training course and,recognising the importance of accreditation, approached the RoyalEnvironmental Health Institute of Scotland (REHIS). The result is aCertificate in Brewery Hygiene Awareness, which is awarded jointly byScottish Courage and the REHIS. Scottish Courage is the first brewing groupin the UK to approach hygiene training in this way.
The judges agreed thatgaining external accreditation for the scheme was a substantial factor inthe success of the entry and that the programme had beneficialimplications for the industry as a whole.
The 2nd Prize went to Philip May of Adnams, Southwold, Suffolk. Nominated bybrewery manager Bill Barker, May has been employed for many years inthe yeast room at Adnams. Over the last 2-3 years, he has demonstrated ahigh level of enthusiasm to take on board additional responsibilities,including yeast viability and consistency monitoring, microbiologicaltesting throughout the brewery and the testing of detergent/sterilantstrengths. The judges commented on the entrant's obvious contribution to productquality and operations at Adnams.
The 3rd prize was taken by Martin Barry, Salopian Brewery, Shrewsbury,Shropshire. Barry has developed the brewery's existing cask washing regimeto improve the way that the company operates this vital part of beerproduction. The main benefits, after implementing this project were anincrease in actual and perceived beer quality (reduction in spoilt beer);reduced use of resources; heightened awareness of hygiene issues and increasedsales and profitability leading to a greater spend on better equipment tofurther improve working practices.
The judges felt that this entry was veryrelevant to the micro brewer and were pleased to see that the data that hadbeen included demonstrated real improvement.
Full details of the winners, their entries and the reasons why they won canbe found in Setting Standards Oxoid's newsletter; copies of the newsletter and details about entry for next year's competition can be found by emailing the company.