Two local men have received awards for separate achievements in brewing and promoting real ale in the Lancaster area. Certificates recording their “outstanding service to real ale” were awarded to the two by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) at a celebratory event in Lancaster University’s Graduate Bar.
Gareth Ellis, licensee of the Graduate Bar for the past seven years, was given his award for introducing real ale to a whole generation of young drinkers and for offering beers from regional and local microbreweries, always served in tip top condition. In addition he has organised regular ale and cider festivals, recognised as high points of student social life.
In presenting the award, Lunesdale CAMRA chairman Cliff Laine, said: “Gareth’s imaginative approach to beer choice, together with sheer hard work and commitment to quality, has been a factor in making Lancaster possibly the best real ale university in the UK.”
In accepting his certificate, Gareth said he felt “fantastic”, adding, “We’ve put on a thousand different beers since I took over. It’s great that during that time so many students from different cultural backgrounds have had an education in real ale as well as their more conventional subject areas.”
George Palmer, founder of Bryson’s, was honoured for re-starting the brewing tradition in the area after the closure of Lancaster’s last remaining brewery, Mitchell’s. Originally sited in Heysham, Bryson’s was the first new local brewery for 120 years. George officially retired last year, but still brews beer part-time for the new owners, MBW.
In addition to producing a range of excellent ales, including mild, stout and wheat beers,
George has another claim to fame. In presenting his certificate, Cliff Laine stressed the impact this ex-power station engineer had had on brewing and drinking in the bay area. “Having Bryson’s on the scene helped open up local pubs to a bigger choice of beers and undoubtedly prepared the ground for the area’s second micro, Lancaster Brewery.”
Said George, “It’s good to be honoured for the one truly selfish act I’ve done! Running your own brewery is, on one level, pure self-indulgence.”
This is the first time the Outstanding Service award has been made. Media & Publicity Officer Julian Holt explained: “We make awards for the Pub of the Year, as well as seasonal awards, but these acknowledge places rather than people. We felt it was time to mark the achievement of individuals who have contributed something significant to our real ale cultural heritage. I’m sure there will be more awards to come.&rdquo