Granddaughter tops a perfect pint

'I told them if my phone goes, I'm answering it'

JARED NICOLL
Last updated 12:38 11/12/2012
Alastair Hawthorne
Emma Allen

Sweet success: Alastair and Liz Hawthorne with their Guinness hotpot pie and a Guinness reduction topped with sour cream in a shot glass

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Seamus' Irish Bar co-owner Alastair Hawthorne told judges he would stop pouring if his phone rang during the national Guinness Pint Master finals in Auckland - with good reason.

It was not until the judges were reading out the winners, announcing Mr Hawthorne and his wife, Liz, as runners-up in the annual Guinness-pouring competition, that he received a call to say they had a new granddaughter.

"I told them if my phone goes, I'm answering it, and she arrived just as they read out who won," Mr Hawthorne said.

"The whole theatre clapped."

The Picton couple had become the proud grandparents of 8-pound 12-ounce (4 kilogram) Georgia, born at Wairau Hospital, in Blenheim, on the evening of December 4.

The couple won the Upper South Island Guinness Pint Master regional final for their pint-pouring skills and Guinness hotpot pie on November 20 and went on to compete against 16 duos from around the country at the finals in Auckland. They were the only pair to pour a perfect pint, but missed the top spot in creativity by half a point.

The judging panel consisted of comedienne Jaquie Brown, Breakers player Tom Abercrombie, M2 magazine editor Andrew Rowell and Guinness Asia Pacific master brewer Rik Chambers.

They awarded Wellington's D4 restaurant and bar staff members Dermot Murphy and Graham Gibson the top spot.

"We were the only ones to have got 100 per cent for pouring. We were leading by three points after the first round for getting the perfect pour. We were beat by half a point in the creative round," Mr Hawthorne said. "It's about interacting with the customers and getting it all perfect. We were proud to represent the region."

The couple also represented the top of the south in the finals in 2008.

Guinness master brewer Rik Chambers said though people might think pouring a pint of the black stuff was simple, there were 25 points the teams were marked on.

"To get it perfect while engaging the crowd with the friendly personality that embodies Guinness is what we were looking for and what the winners really delivered."

Mr Murphy and Mr Gibson receive $1759 each, the figure representing the year Arthur Guinness signed a 9000-year lease on the Dublin-based brewery, for their consistently good pours, Guinness brownie, ganache and icecream dessert.

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- The Marlborough Express

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