Wildcard scoops best brewery title at SIBA awards

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Best brewery: the successful Wildcard team picks up the top accolade
Best brewery: the successful Wildcard team picks up the top accolade

Related tags Beer Cellar management Craft beer Cask ale Branding + marketing

Craft brewery Wildcard has been named Brewery Business of the Year 2023 at the SIBA Business Awards 2023.

The Walthamstow-based business’s owners Will Harris and Jaega Wise were on hand to accept the award.

Harris said: “[I’m] delighted to win the award – it’s just huge recognition for everyone at Wildcard and we’re just really proud of what we have achieved as a team.”

Ultimate validation

Wise added: “We have been going for 11 years now and to get recognition on a national level is unbelievable for the team – we’re going to go out tonight and celebrate.

“At Wildcard, we operate a skinny team that works hard so, for us, this is the ultimate validation. Sometimes things have got tough over the past couple of years and an award like this really does mean everything.”

The SIBA Business Awards – which highlighted the best beer UK businesses, including breweries, pubs, taprooms and bottle shops – are organised by not-for-profit trade association the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and took place at BeerX in Liverpool on Wednesday 15 March.

Hugely impressive

Beer industry writer and broadcaster Pete Brown, who presented the awards, said: “Wildcard were hugely impressive across the board, taking home the top prize in two categories and have carved a niche for themselves with unique design, top-quality beers and keen business instincts.

“Their influence on the industry has been huge for what is a relatively small brewery and judges were blown away by just how much they doing to progress the brewery on all fronts.”

The 2023 awards saw the inaugural Empowering People award, which seeks to highlight the best breweries in the UK to work for by empowering and supporting their teams and championing inclusivity and diversity.


UK's Best Independent Craft Beer Retailer - Single

Brewery Market, Twickenham - Winner

Brews of the World, Burton-on-Trent

CentrAle, Newcastle

The Filling Station, St Ives

UK's Best Independent Craft Beer Retailer - Multiple

10 Green Bottles

A Hoppy Place - Winner

General Stores

UK's Best Independent Craft Beer Retailer - Online

A Hoppy Place - Winner

Beers of Europe

Trembling Madness

UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Bar or Pub – City

Bullhouse East, Belfast - Winner

Craft Republic, Barry

Whitelock’s Ale House, Leeds

UK’s Best Independent Craft Beer Bar or Pub – Rural

The Baileyhead, Oswestry

Elephant & Castle, Wheathampstead - Winner

The Fox & Hounds Beer House, Caversham

UK's Best Independent Craft Beer Promotion​ 

Hop Forward - Winner

London Craft Beer Festival

Norwich City of Ale

UK's Best Independent Craft Brewery Webshop



Wildcard - Winner

Marketing Implementation

Black Sheep - Winner

Hand Brew Co


Wiper + True

Community Engagement


Full Circle - Winner

Moongazer - Highly Commended

Signature Brew

Best Individual Design​ 

Anspach & Hobday - Winner

Full Circle

Red Willow

Best Concept Design

Abbeydale Funk Dungeon

Lakes Brew Co - Highly Commended

North Brewing

Wildcard - Winner

Business Innovation


Lincoln Green - Winner

Commercial Achievement


Hobsons - Winner

Lakes Brew Co


Empowering People

Brentwood Brewery

Brewhouse & Kitchen - Winner

Signature Brew - Highly Commended

UK's Best Independent Craft Brewery Taproom

Gun Brewery

Hackney Church Brew Co. - Winner

Wiper + True - Highly Commended

Sustainable Business​ 

Bluestone Brewing Co - Winner (joint)


Ramsgate Brewery - Winner (joint)

Wasted Degrees

Supplier Associate of the year (Brewer nominated)

Beer Box Shop

Charles Faram

Festival Glass - Winner

Saxon Packaging

Brewery Business of the Year (Judge Awarded)


Sustainability strategy launched

Meanwhile, SIBA has launched a sustainability strategy for helping independent UK breweries to meet the ambitious Net Zero targets set by the Government.

Brewing our way to Net Zero​ will include a consultation with breweries, suppliers and others across the UK before being implemented.

SIBA chief executive Andy Slee said: “In many respects, small independent breweries lead the way in sustainability.

“Their core product is locally produced beer, 66% of which is packaged into reusable containers and sold to community pubs predominantly within a 40-mile radius of the brewery.

“Yet, as small and medium sized businesses, many independent breweries lack the economic, human and technical resources they need to make the jump to net zero – increasingly the number one priority in sustainability.”

The strategy sets out how independent breweries can achieve their net zero obligations, focusing on six key areas: Energy Use, Ingredients, Transport & Logistics, Packaging & Recycling, Solid Waste Management and Water.

The report consultation will be open until 19 May to gather feedback.

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