22 August 2019
Old Tom really is the cat’s pyjamas and it’s not just 8 out of 10 who agree. Great Taste, the world’s most coveted food and drink awards, has announced its ‘stars’ of 2019. Out of nearly 13,000 products sent in from over 100 different countries, Old Tom – brewed by 180-year-old family brewers Robinsons in Stockport – was awarded the prestigious 3-star Great Taste award after leaving “the judges speechless when they tasted it”. Ginger Tom also scooped a 2-star Great Taste award and was highly praised for its “craftmanship”.
Old Tom – which celebrates its 120th birthday this year – is recognised both nationally and internationally as one of the top cats of the beer world (and arguably one of the most famous strong ales in beer history), winning some of the industry’s most prestigious awards; including World’s Best Ale, Supreme Champion Winter Beer of Britain (5 times), CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain (6 times) and World’s Best Design. However, this is the first time the 8.5% abv beer has been recognised by Great Taste – the Oscars of the food and drink world.
Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste values taste above all else, with no regard for branding or packaging. All products are blind tasted over 75 days by 500 of the most demanding palates, including chefs like Kenny Tutt, MasterChef 2018 champion, and Ghanaian food expert Zoe Adjonyoh, restaurateurs such as Kavi Thakrar from Dishoom, industry experts, delicatessen owners, top wine writers and award-winning food writers like Melissa Hemsley, Olia Hercules, Georgina Hayden, and Gill Meller, as well as buyers from Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Sourced Market and Partridges. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star award.
There were 12,772 entries into Great Taste this year (more than any other food awards) and of those products, only 208 (less than 3%) were awarded a 3-star.
Described as “utterly delicious”, “rounded and balanced” with “a stunning aroma, warm comforting flavours and almost no bitterness”, making it a “great food beer” and a “a beer for all seasons and all reasons” that “could only improve with age”, it’s fair to say that the judges positively purred with delight when they tried Old Tom.
Oliver Robinson, Robinsons’ Managing Director (Beer Division), explains why this strong ale is so special: “Old Tom is engrained into our heritage. It’s been in the family since 1899 – ever since our Head Brewer sketched the old brewery cat whilst waiting for the ale to ferment – and even after all this time, it’s still the same great tasting ale, brewed to the same award-winning recipe. Over the last 120 years Old Tom has, without question, positioned itself as a champion beer within the drinks industry and a firm favourite with traditional drinkers and craft enthusiasts alike. We’re very proud of how Old Tom tastes and delighted to receive the 3-star Great Taste award.”
In addition to the 3-stars, Old Tom has also been nominated for a Golden Fork Award; the highest accolade presented by the Great Taste Awards. Great Taste 2019 will reach its exciting finale on Sunday 1 September, when the world of fine food gathers at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel, London to find out the Great Taste Golden Fork trophy winners for each region, with the final applause reserved for the Great Taste Supreme Champion 2019.
There’s little time for a cat nap over the coming months as preparations begin for Old Tom’s 120th birthday on 1st November, followed by the beer’s busiest period: Christmas.