Tim Hampson explains why

Brewer of the Year

One of the highlights of the Annual Dinner of the British Guild of Beer Writers is the announcement made of the Brewer of the Year. This year's accolade was given to Derek Prentice.

In making him our Brewer of the Year - we paid tribute to someone who has made an unmatched contribution to London's vibrant and vital brewing scene. I don't know if there is such a thing as a London brewer, but if there is, then this man is it.

He is held in high esteem by his peers and also in the wider community of those who love beer. He started work at the age of 17 in 1968 and across his more than 45 year career he has worked for four of the Capital's greatest known brewing names - Truman's, Watney's, Young's and Fuller's. He is an outstanding and meticulous brewer who still passionately believes in the romance of brewing.

In his last job at Fuller's, not only was he the curator of some celebrated beers, but he helped develop some great new ones too - including Seafarer, Frontier, Imperial Stout and Past Masters. That's quite a legacy.

His vast experience and attention to detail combine in perfect harmony. Always genial and enthusiastic, he generally avoids the limelight, but he richly deserves to enjoy the admiration that this award expresses. It was quite a moment, when more than 200 people stood up, to applaud and cheer Derek as he walked up to receive his award.

Tim Hampson Chairman British Guild of Beer Writers