The entire team comprises brewing manager Joe Francis (centre of video), whose dad Steve owns the brewery; brewer Rob Thomas (on left, holding winning certificate); and sales and marketing director Scott Hutchinson (on right, holding the trophy).
Francis and Thomas are working on a day-to-day business with Hutchinson being part time and other members of staff working when required.
“We're too small for Untapped to call us a microbrewery,” explains Hutchinson. “We're a nano-brewery.”
The beer is banging
On why 1872 Porter won the award, Hutchinson claims: “Because the beer is banging.”
“It's good beer, made well,” adds Francis. “You can’t replicate, we've got a good yeast and it seems to be our equipment that makes this exact beer that people seem to love and it is fantastic,” Thomas says.
Elland makes a core range of four beers supplemented with four seasonals too so there's usually between six and 10 beers available at any one time.
A rich history that includes the 20-year-old original recipe for 1872 Porter and a GBBF Champion from about 10 years ago proves the small outfit has never lost its way.
Back in fashion
As the industry has changed, Elland has continued with its sound foundations and Hutchinson says: “OK maybe we went out of fashion a few years ago but fashions come back round and the revolution has come around and caught us again.”
Tough times over the past few years has affected every business and Elland suffered too but has hung in and bounced back thanks to its recipes and loyal customers.
Advice for other brewers is “make quality beer and be passionate is what's key for me,” says Thomas. “This award has come quite soon in my career of brewing and I didn't realise how big winter was [for the brewery] at the time so it's about passion and you just need to keep going.”
The Great British Beer Festival 2023 is running between Tuesday 1 August and Saturday 5 August. The beer winners were announced during the trade session on Tuesday afternoon.
GBBF 2023 winners
OVERALL CHAMPION BEER OF BRITAIN
Gold – 1872 Porter (6.5% ABV), Elland Brewery
Silver – Abbot Ale (5% ABV), Greene King
Bronze – Darwin's Origin (4.3% ABV), Salopian
Gold – Church End Ale, Gravediggers Brewery
Silver – Dark Mild, Bank Top Brewery
Bronze – Dark Mild, Harvey’s Brewery
Gold – Darwin's Origin, Salopian Brewery
Silver – Landlord, Timothy Taylor
Bronze – Captain Bob, The Mighty Oak Brewing Company
Gold – Abbot Ale, Greene King
Silver – Jemima's Pitchfork, Glamorgan Brewing
Bronze – XXXB, Batemans
Gold – Diablo Dragons, Bragdy Twt Lol
Silver – Bravehop, Loch Lomond Brewery
Bronze – Jaipur, Thornbridge Brewery
SESSION PALE, BLOND & GOLDEN ALES
Gold – Island Hopping, Swannay Brewery
Silver – Inferno, Oakham Ales
Bronze – Oracle, Salopian Brewery
PREMIUM PALE, BLOND & GOLDEN ALES
Gold – Electric Landlady, Baker’s Dozen Brewing Co.
Silver – Kiwi, Blackedge Brewing Co.
Bronze – Proper Job, St Austell Brewery
WINTER ROUND WINNERS
Stouts and Porters, Session – Dark Drake, Dancing Duck Brewery
Stouts and Porters, Strong – 1872 Porter, Elland Brewery
Speciality, Flavoured – Earl Grey IPA, Marble Beers
Speciality, Differently Produced – Dead Man’s Fist, Chapter Brewing Company
Broan Ales & Red Ales, Old Ales & Strong Milds – Brampton Mild, Brampton Brewery
Barley Wines and Strong Old Ales – Old Tom, Robinsons Brewery