The announcement was made at Parliament today (Thursday, April 28) and the coveted racing green and gold plaque was presented to Harveys Director Hamish Elder by Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss.
The awards, nicknamed the ‘Rural Oscars’, are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of rural produce, skills, enterprise and heritage.
The Champions’ reception in the Cholmondeley Room at Westminster saw more than 40 businesses from across England and Wales, selected in November as finalists, celebrate rural Britain with supportive Parliamentarians and hear if they had won a title.
Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss voiced support for farming and the rural economy, telling the room: “Rural businesses are the lifeblood of this country and its communities, contributing over £220 billion to our economy, so it is only right we celebrate the heroes that make our countryside great.
“I’ve seen first-hand how the nominees for the Countryside Alliance Awards represent the brilliance of rural Britain and I am delighted to be able to celebrate their many wonderful achievements.
“They are ambassadors of thriving rural enterprise; something I am committed to boosting even further through our Rural Productivity Plan. This will improve technology and infrastructure, creating the conditions for rural growth.”
Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Tim Bonner announced Harveys victory by saying: “The champion in this category is appealing in many ways. It is woven into the history of the town and area it serves, it supports local farmers and producers, it is a huge local employer and, crucially, it brews beer.
“Harveys Brewery is revered as a Sussex name and embodies all the high standards and values of a bygone era with the 7th and 8th generations of Harvey family at the helm. Trading since 1790, it is the current generation’s challenge to merge the old and the new, and this it does to great effect.
“Brewery tours are conducted personally by the directors, late night shopping festivals are held in the yard and the dray horses ride through the town every week for no other reason than that they put a smile on peoples’ faces.
“Harveys are very proud of their British credentials: all hops are grown within 50 miles, all malt within 90 miles and all by-products are returned to local agriculture, including Plumpton Agricultural College which converts the spent grains into 1million pints of milk.
“Ninety per cent of their beer is consumed within 50 miles and the spring water for brewing is drawn via an artesian well 60 feet below their premises. Harveys support local events and activities through sponsorship of Sussex Food and Drink Awards, Lewes Business Awards and the Heavy Horse Village at the South of England Show.
“With many people coming to Lewes for the coastline, South Downs and a myriad of further attractions the concept of a traditional pub is very high on people’s to do list and Harveys ensure their brewery and pubs remain as traditional and English as the beers themselves.”
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