WEARSIDE’S Maxim Brewery is celebrating twice over after making the final of a supermarket competition.
Sainsbury’s customers and beer connoisseurs judged more than 150 beers from 70 breweries nationwide as part of the company’s Great British Beer Hunt.
With bottled ales growing by 13.7 per cent in the last year in supermarkets, breweries across the UK entered their new beers for the chance to win a coveted retail listing.
The 156 beers entered were broken down into four regional shortlists of five brews each.
And Rainton Bridge-based Maxim has made the Northern region list twice, with its American Pride and Swedish Blonde beers.
The 20 finalists will go on sale in the company’s stores nationwide for three weeks in September.
The the best-selling three from each region will then go into a grand final in October, at which a panel of experts will select two overall winners which will receive a guaranteed minimum six-month listing in Sainsbury’s 300-plus stores nationwide.
“It’s great,” brewery boss Mark Anderson told the Echo.
“We have done really well to make the list twice over.
“We know the beers we make are good and so we were hopeful of making the final five but to do it twice over is something different.” The competition is run annually, but Maxim does not enter every year because of the challenges of producing a brew specifically for the Beer Hunt.
“It is annual and every so often we will give it a go,” said Mark.
“It is really difficult for small brewers to get a beer made, to get packaging designed and produced for the competition.
“You need an element of flexibility with your plant and equipment, which fortunately we do have. It’s not easy to do because you are competing with the nationals.”
Maxim was set up by Mark and colleagues from Vaux to rescue the Wearside brewery’s beers.
As well as American Pride and Swedish Blonde, it produces Samson, Double Maxim, Ward’s and Lambton’s.