Beer writer wins industry accolade

INDUSTRY STALWART: Marlborough Express beer columnist Geoff Griggs, left, brews beer with Soren Eriksson, of 8wired.
INDUSTRY STALWART: Marlborough Express beer columnist Geoff Griggs, left, brews beer with Soren Eriksson, of 8wired.

Marlborough beer writer Geoff Griggs has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to the brewing industry of New Zealand.

Griggs won the inaugural Industry Achievement award at this year's Brewers Guild of New Zealand bash in Wellington.

Griggs told the Express yesterday he was thrilled with the accolade, which he rated as the greatest honour he had received for his work.

The award acknowledges prolonged and distinguished service to the brewing industry and the Guild.

In his acceptance speech last Thursday, Griggs acknowledged the late English journalist and beer writer Michael Jackson as a mentor and the late Grant Jones, founder of specialist beer retailer Regional Wines & Spirits in Wellington, as an inspiration who encouraged him to pursue writing about beer.

Griggs has a long history working as a beer writer and judge in New Zealand after migrating from the United Kingdom in 1995. Before arriving in New Zealand, Griggs spent 20 years working as a video journalist for the BBC. Travelling through Europe, Russia and the United States with work, enabled him to try a wide variety of beer straight off the tap.

"I was tasting beers in their local environment and you just can't beat that experience," he said.

Since 2000, he has written a regular beer column for the Marlborough Express.

For the last 17 years, he has also hosted beer tutorials for Regional Wines & Spirits in Wellington.

Grant Jones previously said Griggs was "arguably the most authoritative beer commentator in New Zealand".

His work has been featured in a range of magazines and trade publications and he has contributed to two world beer guides - The Beer Book (2009) and 1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die (2010).

He cites being asked to write the New Zealand chapter of Michael Jackson's final book, The Eyewitness Companion to Beer as another great honour and career highlight.

Griggs said the New Zealand beer industry was both fascinating and interesting.

Homegrown ingredients, world class hops, fantastic malting barley and fresh water all made for unique flavours.

"All the ingredients we need to make fantastic beer are here in New Zealand."

Next month, Griggs is heading to Denver where he will judge at the Great American Beer Festival for the third year running.

The Marlborough Express