Awards Ceremony

The BBI returned to One Whitehall Place for the Annual Gala dinner on Thursday, 1st November 2018. The new location was a huge success for the Diamond Jubilee last year and this year the response was equally positive from hosts and guests who liked the round table layout together with the bar remaining open until late, which gave a great opportunity for networking.

The Champagne reception incorporated the presentation of awards for the winners of Medals and Certificates following the 2018 Drinks Competition held in July, with the photographs available here.

After a wonderful dinner, BBI National Chairman, David Griffiths, welcomed all to the event. David talked about the wonderful summer for the whole Drinks trade with the only issues this year being the chronic shortage of CO2 and amber glass, for which he described both suppliers as a 'law unto themselves'. David also commented that the long hot summer meant that many bottlers had been running flat out for long periods, which should then mean a lot of equipment replacement in the coming months.

David announced that the next BBI Conference is planned for June 2020, a year after Brexit, under the heading of "What does Brexit mean to you one year on?" David invited anyone who would like to present a paper in 2020 to get in touch with the BBI.

BBI President, Ed Binsted, started his speech with the news that 'Steve Wright in the Afternoon' had made mention on his programme earlier in the day of the BBI dinner. Ed discussed the CO2 Seminar that was held at Westons Cider in the late summer and stated that if there were any other Brewers, Cider Makers or Soft Drinks companies who would like further details regarding a seminar in their area to get in touch with him.

Ed then introduced the recipient of the BBI Achievement Award, sponsored by Krones UK, Helen Thomas, Managing Director of H Weston and Sons Ltd. Helen is the first female MD of Westons and the first female winner of the BBI award. When Helen was appointed MD in 1996 the company had a turnover of £5.5m, today it is in excess of £60m with a team of over 230. 2018 also saw Westons receive the Family Business of the Year Award in the Food and Drink Category.

In accepting her award, not the first of the night as Westons also won awards in the BBI Drinks competition, Helen talked about the journey since she took over the reins of the company. As the company has expanded there has been constant investment in the Cider plant, new buildings and offices, including the Scrumpy House Visitor Centre and Restaurant, which welcomes thousands of visitors a year, new tank farms, bottling lines, apple presses, evaporators, waste water treatment and reed beds.

The Dinner was rounded off by the comedian, Bob Webb, who put on a very amusing set for the hosts and guests.

You can view the winners of this year's competition here.

If you would like more information about the Dinner or photos from this years event please contact us.