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Simmonite scoops Stella Draught Master gong

Bartender Mark Simmonite has won the UK heats of the Stella Artois World Draught Masters.

Simmonite, of Henry’s in Sheffield, was among 28 final contestants from around the country at the finals held yesterday at IndigO2 in London.

The contestants had to demonstrate their ability to pour two “perfect” pints of Stella Artois in under two minutes.

The initial 28 were then whittled down to just seven who returned to the stage to repeat the process under increased scrutiny from the judging panel which included last year’s global world draught master Chris Myers, Stella Artois’ global marketing manager Alexander Lambrecht and brewmaster Paul Van de Walle.

Speaking after the competition, Simmonite said he was “really pleased with the outcome. We didn’t make it last year, which I’m glad about because last year the finals were in London and this year they’re in Argentina.”

Asked about the importance of a pouring ritual, such as the one Stella Artois promotes in the Draught Master competition, he replied: “It’s phenomenally important to present beer properly.

“We’re in competition with the off-trade and we have to give customers a reason to come back to pubs and to appreciate what beer is. Consumer’s appreciate the ritual too.”

Myers told the drinks business after the winners had been announced: “His rounds were good. He was confident and his technical ability was almost flawless.

“That said, it was very tight with only six or seven points in it between number one and the runners-up.”

Jonathan Crow, barman at The Lamb Inn and last year’s winner of the UK heats, graciously handed over his crown saying to db: “I’m very excited for Mark, he’s a great champion.

“I’d say to him, ‘enjoy every second’. I’ve learnt so much from the experience and now won’t settle for anything less than perfection.”

Simmonite will now prepare for the global finals, which take place in Buenos Aires on 26 October, where he will compete with bartenders from around the world.

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