Robert Humphreys was crowned Beer Drinker of the Year at the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group’s annual awards dinner last night.

Humphreys, who recently retired after 21 years as the group’s honorary secretary, was honoured in front of 250 MPs, peers and industry figures.

Group chairman Andrew Griffiths, MP for Burton-on-Trent, said: “Robert has been an often unsung hero of the brewing industry; over the past two decades he has worked tirelessly to create the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, which is not only the largest All Party Group in Westminster,  but also the most vibrant.”

“It has been a privilege for me to work with Robert since  I became Beer Group Chairman three years ago.  He is a man of total integrity with an enormous passion for beer and pubs – and an ever greater sense of fun.”

Griffiths also hailed the progress the beer industry has made in recent years after two successive Budget cuts on beer duty and the rise of hundreds of microbreweries creating a diverse and interesting UK beer scene contributing to a healthy economic environment.

“Most MPs enjoy a beer but the Beer Group has allowed them to understand the vital role that beer and pubs play to the local economy in their own constituencies,” he said. “There are about 1,500 breweries in the UK and the sector employs nearly 1 million people.  

“This is why it made such good economic sense to George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to cut beer duty in his last two budgets to stimulate the sector.”

The Beer Group also presented four other awards:

–        Brewer of the Year: Emma Gilleland, Director of Supply Chain, Marston’s

–        Lifetime Achievement: Keith Bott, Titanic Brewery

–        Beer Parliamentarian of the Year: Dr Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Costal

–        Pub Parliamentarian of the Year: Clive Efford, MP for Eltham