Tour Britannia

Location: Europe, as the name suggests, encourages people to drink and to stock the best of British beers, wines and much more besides; with the kind of enthusiasm more regularly reserved for extolling the virtues of Kentish carrots, or cabbages from your neighbour’s allotment.

Founder, Susanna Forbes and her husband James (buying and marketing director at Stevens Garnier) recently hit the road in a specially branded Mini Cooper, to practice what she preaches and tour the nation’s wineries, breweries and distilleries – picking up a taster or two along the way.

The trip started in Derbyshire at Thornbridge Brewery, before heading north to sites including the well-established The Durham Brewery as well as the Wylam microbrewery, then travelling south again to the Eglantine winery in Nottinghamshire – which boasts an incredible 200 varieties of vine. Herefordshire proved something of a hot-spot, with visits paid to Oliver’s Cider and Perry, the Wye Valley Brewery and Frome Valley winery all in one day, swiftly followed by tours at Chase Vodka and British Cassis.

‘It’s been fantastic meeting the people behind the products,’ said Susanna, who will also be editing Imbibe’s first beer supplement, due out with the November/December issue. ‘Whether it’s the creativity of Stefano Cossi at Thornbridge, the enlightened precision of Durham Brewery’s Steve Gibbs, or the infectious enthusiasm of Eglantine’s Tony Skuriat, our trip confirms to me that it’s no surprise British drinks are creating such a wave today.’

‘Welcoming visitors is important to all these places – they become ambassadors as well as buyers, and are a vital part of sustaining growth,’ Susanna added: ‘What has been remarkable is that, despite today’s economic difficulties, every place we have visited has been in growth, with their biggest challenge keeping up with demand.’

For more information on the DrinkBritain road trip, or more on the nation’s drink producers visit the website.

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