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The Adnams Brewery Awards 2013

By Fergus Fitzgerald, also posted in News on

Fergus in the brewery control roomWe’ve had our fair share of awards this year, and this post is really about making sure the brewing team get the credit they deserve. Before we go on I need to make it clear that there is no financial reward to accompany these awards, there is no sit down dinner, there isn’t even a sausage roll or lukewarm vol au vent. Only Adnams employees are eligible and specifically those who work within production, also my decisions are final, unless I decide to change them So first up is the award for Best Long Distance Running Master Brewer Belinda Jennings, Adnams Brewer and Quality ManagerAnd the winner is Belinda! Ostensibly our Quality manager but she does so much more than that. She makes sure the beer is ready to rack, manages the whirlwind that is the mini cask planning, looks after beer tankers and generally takes care of everything when I’m not here. This year she has also taken on the 100 litre pilot brewery, and developed the recipes for the Jack Brand Rye IPA and ridiculously successful Dry Hopped Lager on it, not mention a few others besides. Belinda passed her master brewer exams this year. These exams can be a real chore to do when you have to fit it in around work and it’s even harder to pick up again once you’ve had a year off but Belinda did it and she has the tankard to prove it. She goes running most lunch times and seems to be as regular a feature at the London Marathon as Brendan Foster Next is the coveted ‘Not Ginger’ Brewer award Dan W. is one of our brewers and he’s had to take on a lot of extra work this year to cover some sickness (which I’ll explain later). We used to call him ginger Dan, unfortunately he’s has mysteriously gone blond, so calling him ginger Dan now is just plain confusing, we are trialling ‘Dan the elder’ instead. We are a small brewing team (although I believe the correct terminology is now ‘Brew Crew’ followed by a couple of high fives) and Dan has kept the brewhouse going no matter what happens or how badly Norwich play. As for why he has won the award, some of you may say that surely someone who has never been Ginger is obviously the least ginger but no, the black or blonde haired amongst you have put no effort into not being Ginger, only a formerly ginger haired person can win this award and I say this as a semi ginger myself. The Award for Least Time Taken Off Despite Breaking Multiple Bones goes to…… Dan G (Curly Dan). Dan is our other Brewer, after an argument with a Canadian tree whilst snowboarding he fractured his spine in a couple of places, and scared the bejesus out of us in the process. He’s fully recovered now, so recovered is he in fact that he managed to fracture a bone in his foot playing football Anyway he’s now looking at taking up tiddlywinks but only wearing safety goggles. Apart from his odd habit of breaking bones Dan has been fantastic, he’s got a great brewing brain and is a fantastic homebrewer which has come in handy for a trials we’ve been looking at. As with any good award show there is a team award. We have three, so this makes our awards three times as good. The first is for Least ‘Outwardly’ Annoyed Team no matter how many times we change the plan And the winner is the racking team. Dave heads up the racking team, where all the beer is put into casks. Malcolm, Graham, Colin, Dean, Stacey, Dave and Wayne have the job of filling a variety of casks from 18 gallons to 4.5gallon pins but its our 5 litre mini casks that probably take the most work around this time of year as we try and guess what you’ll want to buy. Dave and the team never get phased no matter how many times we come back and say ‘the shop is empty we need to do another 200 mini casks’ They always finds a way of making it work. Thanks guys, on the plus side we haven’t had to fish cinnamon sticks out of the casks this year. Paul Hester, Brewery Engineer The 'Can You Fix It and What Is It Going To Cost Me' Team Award goes to…… The engineering team, If you’ve been on the brewery tour then you know we have a lot of whirligigs and doohickeys, lots of motors and valves and pumps that inexplicably dislike Monday mornings. So to make sure we can brew we have a team of engineers, Chris, Paul, Garry, Alan and Andrew, who constantly amaze me in their ability to find solutions to problems that I didn’t even know existed. These are the guys that were born to fix things, and despite an unhealthy interest in Ipswich town FC and Land rovers, they keep the cogs oiled and moving.  John McCarthyThe Award for the Best Absinthe Made In Southwold (not including any that are made illegally) goes to the distillery team of John and Craig. The distillery has been an amazing adventure for us and John and Craig have produced an award winning Gin and Southold’s first whisky but for me the best spirit they make is Absinthe, don’t drink it neat, throw in a bit of Parisian sophistication and crack open a bottle of water and dilute it to 1 in 4. With the Gin selling so well I don’t know when John will have time to make it again but that’s what weekends and the early hours are for. Back to the individuals awards now. The ‘Ghostbusters’ Award goes to…. Robert, Rob looks after cellar training and advice on handling cask beer in trade as well as any complaints we get. Now I know you are all going to be amazed that we get any complaints but we do from time to time, cask beer in particular is a live product and subject to variations, so sing it with me; If there's something strange in your neighbourhood (and by neighbourhood I mean cellar) Who you gonna call? Robert! If there's something weird and it don't look good Who you gonna call? Robert!  The Yeast Whisperer Award goes to …..Philip. The Adnams yeast, millions of cells in a little vial Philip works in the Lab now but he has been at Adnams for 40 years and has worked with our in-house yeast for a lot of that time so when Philip tells you something isn’t quiet right with our yeast you listen.     Our final Award is for Outstanding Commitment to Shiny Pipework, and the winner is……. Malcolm. Shiny taps Malcolm again is a long serving member of the team at the brewery. He used to lead up the brewing team until he decided he wanted to take things easier so he swapped his brewing role for something part time, he then decided that as part time work was so good he’d take two part time jobs as that would be twice as good. Anyway he now looks after plant hygiene, making sure the brewery looks its best when you come around on the brewery tour. As you will have guessed this has really just been a drawn out way of saying thanks to the brewing team for all their hard work this year. Apologies to everyone in the cellar service, contact centre, sales, transport, most importantly, payroll and finance, etc, you obviously do a great job but you’ll have to get your own awards do. See you in 2014  


Fergus Fitzgerald