Sadly, I must report the passing of two people of significance to both the Campaign and the brewing industry.
Bramwell Wesley Lowe passed away on 27 May. He was born and died in Norfolk and had a full and active life, primarily as a musician. He was a founder member of CAMRA and was the first chairman of the Norwich and District branch, at which time he ran the Red Lion at Wroxham, close to where he was born. He was also the organiser of the Norwich Beer Festival for its first three years. When in 1981 his friend Ray Ashworth, along with David Crease, started Woodforde’s Norfolk Ales, Bram became their first full-time sales representative, later becoming sales manager. A highlight was when Norfolk Nog won CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain competition in 1992, followed four years later by Wherry. Woodforde’s also brewed a beer in his honour, called Old Bram.
Roger, who has died of cancer at the age of only 52, was the director of brewing at St Austell Brewery for nearly twenty years. His first new beer was Daylight Robbery, a special for the eclipse in 1999. It proved to be so successful that it became a core beer, renamed Tribute, along with Proper Job IPA and Korev Cornish Lager. After St Austell purchased Bath Ales in 2016, Roger supervised the setting up of Bath’s brand new Hare Brewery which opened in 2018. The Bath Ales site is currently managed by Georgina Young, late of Fuller’s.
Kevin Georgel, St Austell’s chief executive, told the Cornwall live website, “Roger was a world-class brewer and a leader in his field, who we were incredibly lucky to work alongside. Passionate about people, he played a huge role in nurturing and developing young talent, both in our business and throughout the brewing industry. The growing reputation and quality of our beers, since Roger joined St Austell Brewery in 1999, is testimony to his hard work, leadership and passion. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him and worked with him.”
Roger was named Brewer of the Year by two different organisations; the British Guild of Beer Writers (2006) and the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group (2009). The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has announced that they will honour Roger posthumously with their Silver Tankard Lifetime Achievement Award.
Stop press: St Austell Brewery have announced that Georgina Young has been promoted to Brewing Director and will be in charge of brewing and operations at both St Austell Brewery and Bath Ales.