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UK's Best Lager & World's Best AF Stout

Ilkley Brewery celebrates double award win

Small in size, big on reputation. We may be famous for its Mary Jane session pale ale, but we've had double success in recent awards too. Our Lager, Slake, picked up the 2024 Best Premium Packaged Lager in the UK award from SIBA, and our Alcohol-Free Milk Stout, Nowt Mary scooped the Gold medal in the World Alcohol-Free Drinks Awards as the best dark alc-free beer in the world!



Best Premium Lager in UK

For too long lager has been the domain of the global macro brewers, churning out millions of gallons of bland liquid and dominating beer consumption, but the tide is turning. The craft beer boom has broadened drinker’s taste buds as well as their expectations, and the more discerning palate now appreciates more nuanced flavours. We entered the market with Slake, named for the Yorkshire slang “to satisfy or quench one’s thirst” back in 2019, initially on draught only. Packaged into bottles for that long hot lockdown summer, it is now stocked in Booths stores as well as independent shops up and down the country, and is a best-seller on the brewery webshop and also via Amazon.

Best Alcohol-Free Dark Beer in the World

We entered the Alcohol-free market in 2019 with Virgin Mary, subsequently renamed Maiden Mary. Rubbing shoulders with pioneering specialist alcohol-free brewers such as Nirvana, Lucky Siant and Big Drop as the low and no sector started to bloom. Big Drop’s Galactic Milk Stout broke the mould and showed that brewers could expand away from lagers and pale ales, and in 2022 we launched their first dark alcohol-free beer – Nowt Mary (as opposed to Stout Mary, the 5% version) is a Coffee Milk Stout at 0.5% abv. Fast forward 18 months and Nowt Mary has pipped its hero to the top spot, with Galactic taking silver to Ilkley’s Gold. Many people now enjoy a regular subscription of Nowt Mary via our website, but it is also stocked in bars, restaurants and shops around the UK as well as at Booths stores and online via specialist low & no retailer Dry Drinker.



Luke Raven, the brewery’s co-owner, said this of winning the awards;

“It’s always nice to receive recognition, but to be awarded as the UK’s Best Lager and the World’s Best AF Dark Beer, by such esteemed judges as SIBA and WAFA is truly overwhelming. I’m so incredibly proud of the team here, who have put in so much work developing the recipes, fine-tuning and perfecting their craft, and then getting it out there into the hands of thirsty drinkers.”


Set against an increasingly challenging industry backdrop, Ilkley Brewery’s continued and resolute success stands out. 2024 has already seen further expansion with two new fermenters installed ready for new beer development, including no less than 3 new Low & No beers launching in the summer.


The Society of Independent Brewers holds regional competitions followed by a blind tasted national competition with industry expert judges:

The World Alcohol Free Drinks Awards is the world’s largest alcohol-free drinks competition. Each medal winning entry was tasted up to 12 times by the judges, who awarded a total of 58 Golds, 87 Silvers, and 110 Bronze medals.

Luke continued;

Right, I’m off to celebrate and plan a summer of festivals with a cold refreshing Tallboy can of Gold medal-winning lager in my hand.”

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