Meet our Producer of the Year 2019

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A family-run brewery has been crowned Producer of the Year 2019.

The Norfolk Brewhouse triumphed at a glittering awards ceremony celebrating some of the best food and drink suppliers to the East of England Co-op.

The business reached the final of the competition alongside jam maker Thursday’s Cottage in Essex and The Cake Shop bakery in Suffolk after all three received thousands of votes from East of England Co-op members and customers.

They were then were judged by a panel, including Terry Hunt, Emma Hibbert and Charlotte Smith-Jarvis, Archant food and drink editor with the ale and lager producer singled out for its dedication, commitment and ambition.

The Norfolk Brewhouse, run by successful husband and wife team David and Rachel Holliday, was also praised for its passion and commitment to using local produce, particularly the finest Norfolk Maris Otter Barley which David claims is the key to their success.

After accepting his award, he said: “We are staggered. It has felt like a bit of a David and Goliath battle for us because we have been up against so many other producers who are bigger than we are or more well-established.

“We were absolutely thrilled to have received the backing of shoppers to reach the finals but to win the overall title is the froth on the beer.

“We are thrilled to have made such a massive impact on shoppers who sampled our ales and lagers.

“We are only a small team, but we put our hearts and soul into what we do and to have this sort of feedback validates that. I couldn’t be prouder of everything we have achieved.”

Judges said the competition was close and both Thursday Cottage and The Cake Shop picked up finalist awards at last night’s ceremony.

Pele Heydon and Leah Riley who run Thursday Cottage, which produces delicious jams, marmalades and curds, were praised for their traditional values.

Judges also applauded David Wright and Ian Akers at The Cake Shop for helping the business expand to increase its wholesale operation and roast its own coffee.

This is not the first time The Norfolk Brewhouse has been rewarded for its work. Its ale and lagers are multi-award-winners recognised by the Society of Independent Brewers Awards nationally and regionally. They also recently received recognition at the North Norfolk Business Awards where they walked away with the title of Small Business of the Year.

Roger Grosvenor, Joint Chief Executive at the East of England Co-op, said: “The East of England Co-op Producer of the Year competition is a celebration of some of our locally-sourced heroes and once again we have been impressed by those that were shortlisted.

“What was particularly wonderful about the competition was the fact that shoppers really got behind their favourites, resulting in an incredible 19,000 public votes.

“Huge congratulations go to our winner – The Norfolk Brewhouse – who blew us away with their range of products and their unwavering passion for every pint.”

The East of England Co-op works with approximately 100 local producers through its multi-award winning Sourced Locally initiative, which has generated millions of pounds for the regional economy since launching in 2007.

Producer of the Year plays a vital role in continuing the Sourced Locally ethos by encouraging shoppers to consciously buy local and quality produce throughout the year.