Women from the beer and pub industry were celebrated in Westminster last night at a beer and food tasting held by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, women in beer group Dea Latis, and the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), sponsored by Ruth Smeeth MP for Stoke-on-Trent North.
Guests experienced an exclusive tutored tasting by one of the country’s first female beer sommeliers Annabel Smith, whilst Members of Parliament met with leading brewsters from across the country, industry renowned beer writers and beer sommeliers to learn about the importance of women in the beer industry.
With new research from AB InBev stating that women over the age of 25 now make one in six of all beer purchases and over 3.2 million saying they drink beer once or twice a week, the event aimed to help break the misconception that beer is a man’s drink and show that there is a beer that’s right for every occasion. Beer is also low in calories and has no fat, but does contain a host of other beneficial vitamins, minerals and soluble fibre.
Attendees were given the opportunity to sample just some of the fantastic beers created by brewsters across the UK today, paired with classic British favourites:St Austell Clouded Yellow with smoked salmon blinis; Marston’s Pedigree with Montgomery cheddar cheese; Timothy Taylor’s Landlord with charcuterie;Fuller’s Honey Dew with samosas and bhajis; and Robinson’s Old Chocolate Tom with dark chocolate torte and chocolate truffles. Guests were given two gluten free beer options; Celia’s Organic Czech Pilsner Lager and Premium Czech Dark Lager.
Each guest was also treated to a bottle of Titanic’s Plum Porter, the same award-winning beer that event sponsor Ruth Smeeth MP for Stoke-on-Trent North helped brew at Titanic’s Burslem based brewery earlier in the year.
Secretary of State Liz Truss told guests that Britain had some of the most fantastic beers in the world, and highlighted the sourcing of UK ingredients in British beer, from Norfolk barley to Kentish hops. She was really proud to support the event as the diversity of British beer from both small and large brewers was “so exciting”, she said.
A team from Stella Artois, an AB InBev brewed beer, were on hand to talk to guests about the Buy A Lady A Drink campaign, which saw the Belgian beer partnering with water.org to help provide clean water to communities in developing countries across the world. In addition to a $1.2 million donation to water.org, Stella Artois produced and sold limited edition chalices to consumers, with 100% of the cost donated to the charity. Each chalice featured a unique design inspired by Ethiopia, Honduras and India – three of the countries in which water.org operates – and represented 5 years of access to clean drinking water to a person in the developing world. Each guest went home with a chalice which triggered a further donation from Stella Artois to the charity. Based on the huge success of the 2015 Buy A Lady A Drink campaign, it will be returning in 2016.
Ruth Smeeth MP (pictured left) commented: “It was an absolute privilege to host the ‘women in beer’ event and to treat guests to a sample of Stoke-on-Trent’s finest real ale. Women have played a major role in the brewing and pub industries for many years and it was great to raise a glass in honour of their contributions.
“In my own constituency, Titanic Brewery has gone from strength to strength in recent years providing a fantastic range of beers, including the Plum Porter on offer here in Parliament which I’m proud to have brewed myself, under expert supervision of course! I’m pleased to see that this success is being mirrored by great British brewers across our country.”
Ros Shiel, for Dea Latis said: “We’re delighted to see women parliamentarians enjoying this selection of fine beers from all over the country. The relationship between beer and women in the UK is similar to that of politics and women: progress has been made, but there’s still work to do! Despite the beer revolution of recent years, beer consumption by women lags behind that of the United States and most European countries. At Dea Latis, we’re committed to narrowing this gap by introducing more women to beer and we hope this event in Westminster creates some new, influential advocates for our cause.”
BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds comments: “I am delighted that so many women from Parliament and across the beer and pub industry joined us in celebrating the exceptional talent and innovation that women bring to what is traditionally viewed as a male-dominated sector.”