GBBF 2023

VIDEO: Interview with GBBF champion Elland Brewery

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Great british beer festival Beer Brewery Brewing

West Yorkshire-based Elland Brewery is a three-person operation – yet this tiny business took the coveted title of Champion Beer of Britain at this week’s Great British Beer Festival (GBBF). Here, the trio tells The Morning Advertiser about the victory and the winning beer, 1872 Porter.

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.”

Elland on stage

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


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 


Gold – Island Hopping, Swannay Brewery 

Silver – Inferno, Oakham Ales 

Bronze – Oracle, Salopian Brewery 


Gold – Electric Landlady, Baker’s Dozen Brewing Co. 

Silver – Kiwi, Blackedge Brewing Co. 

Bronze – Proper Job, St Austell Brewery 


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 

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