Tag Archives: Annabel Smith

Dea Latis goes international

12 May

Annabel Smith, one of the founding members of Dea Latis, attended the 13th International Beer Strategies Conference in Barcelona on 10th May, to speak on the subject of how beer can appeal to a wider female audience. She was accompanied by Jenny Elliott, a fellow Beer Sommelier, and the Brand and Beer Champion at Molson Coors.

The conference was attended by representatives from the entire spectrum of the brewing industry, and hosted speakers from Asahi Europe, Heineken, Diageo, Carlsberg, Brooklyn Brewery and Bieres de Chimay amongst others.

The conference was held over two days and included a behind the scenes visit to the Estrella Damm brewery.

Annabel said “The conference was really enlightening in terms of learning about future trends, current research and emerging brands in the beer industry. However, our ultimate mission was to communicate how the beer industry could engage a wider female audience by highlighting the challenges women face in choosing a beer as a drink of choice: namely misconceptions about health and calories, presentation and serve, brand positioning, and marketing”.

She added: “One really important message we did want to get across was that women do not want a beer which is designed specifically and solely for the female consumer. These type of beers have been launched before and they have failed. It’s patronising to assume that all women will like a particular flavour, style or colour of beer. What the beer industry needs to do is invest more time and funding in education, awareness and product presentation to engage women with the vast array of fantastic styles and brands which are already available on the market. There is a beer style which suits everyone, regardless of their gender.”

Annabel and Jenny hosted a panel discussion and invited questions from the delegates on how they could overcome some of the challenges the beer industry faced in getting women to choose beer as drink of choice, particularly in the UK where female beer consumption is far lower than the rest of Europe or the US.

The photograph above shows Jenny Elliott and Annabel Smith at the conference

Looking for the Liver-Beerds

7 Mar

Dea Latis is hosting its first beer and food tasting evening in Liverpool at The Old Blind School on Hardman Street on Thursday 13th April, with doors open from 7.00pm.

Led by the award-winning Beer Sommelier and beer training expert, Annabel Smith, guests will enjoy fascinating insight into women’s involvement in beer and brewing as well as sampling six different courses each matched with a different beer. Annabel will explain how to taste beer and how different styles of beer go well with certain types of food.

With the tasting event on the eve of Liverpool’s Food and Drink festival and the Easter weekend the tasting menu will inevitably include some chocolate! Annabel Said: “People are sometimes amazed about how well chocolate goes with beer but we’ve been eschewing Champagne for a great stout or wheat beer for years!”

Dea Latis organiser, Lisa Harlow said: “We know that women in Liverpool are already big supporters of our national drink and frankly it’s about time we did something in the city to celebrate the fact!

“We have a great venue who are renowned for their food, we have support from local and regional brewers and local sponsorship from Birkenhead-based CPL Training. With prizes up for grabs and a free online course about beer styles every guest will learn more about beer as well as having a fun evening.”

Tickets are £25 per head (with a £2 booking fee) and available here: Liverpool tickets

Women to sample brewsters’ beer with brunch

9 Jun

Organisers of the Midlands’ biggest keg beer festival have collaborated with the women and beer group, Dea Latis, to run a special Brewsters’ Brunch, taking place at this year’s Birmingham Beer Bash on Saturday 23rd July 2016 .

Brunch2

The fringe event is dedicated to celebrating women in the brewing industry with tastings from three of Britain’s top female brewers or ‘brewsters’.

Michelle Kelsall from Offbeat Brewery in Cheshire, Gwen Sanchirico a native New Yorker now brewing at Sacre Brew in Wolverhampton and Sarah John from Swansea’s Boss Brewing will be providing beers and sharing their experiences as women in the male dominated brewing industry.

Hosted by one of the UK’s first female beer sommeliers and one of the Dea Latis founding members, Annabel Smith, the Brewsters’ Brunch is not a women-only event but the aim is to encourage women to go along from 10am to midday to enjoy the tasting of six beers brewed by women. The accompanying brunch will be provided by Peel & Stone, Birmingham’s top independent bakery based in the Jewellery Quarter.

Annabel said: “We’re extremely excited to be a part of this year’s Birmingham Beer Bash. We set up Dea Latis in 2010 as a group of women united by our love for beer and the belief that it is too good to be enjoyed only by men and run events like this around the UK.

“Having worked in the beer industry for over 20 years, I have seen a huge shift in women’s attitudes to beer. Thanks to the recent craft beer revolution there is much more information out there about styles of beer and great choice of ales. I think women feel more confident to ask about beers at the bar.”

Dea Latis recently conducted a survey of 600 beer drinkers which confirmed that more women are now regularly incorporating beer in to their repertoire.

David Shipman, founder and organiser of Birmingham Beer Bash added: “It’s always been part of our stated aims that we want to help bring more of the best beer experiences to Birmingham. Working with Dea Latis to celebrate women in brewing does exactly that.

“Beer Bash is a great opportunity for men and women alike to try different styles, talk to brewers and enjoy some of the great beers from around the country. We hope that this fringe event will show what brilliant female brewing talent we have in the industry.”

Tickets, available from Eventbrite and the main event website birminghambeerbash.co.uk, cost £22.50 and include a flight of six beers and brunch as well as admission to the popular Saturday daytime of the Birmingham Beer Bash.

Dea Latis stages fifth annual beer and chocolate tasting

27 Mar

Dea Latis. Women in beer.

As part of its continuing quest to encourage more women to enjoy our national drink, industry group Dea Latis hosted its fifth annual beer and chocolate tasting on Tuesday.
Twenty guests gathered in the Clarence pub on Whitehall to taste six beers, each paired with a chocolate chosen to enhance the flavours in each. Expert guidance to the beer and chocolate matches was provided by Annabel Smith, beer sommelier and Dea Latis founder.
Smith said, “We regularly pair beer with a variety of foods, but the chocolate tasting is probably our most popular event. The fact that we’re staging this event for the fifth time reflects not only the strong appeal of sampling beer and chocolate together, but also the growing awareness of Dea Latis within the beer and pubs industry.”
The beers and chocolates tasted by guests at The Clarence were:
• Molson Coors Blue Moon (ABV 5.4%)with Terry’s Milk Chocolate Orange
• Everards Tiger (ABV 4.2%) with Green & Black’s Butterscotch Milk Chocolate
• Thwaites Tavern Porter (ABV 4.7%) with chocolate cup cakes
• Shepherd Neame Generation Ale (ABV 9%) with Green & Black’s Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut & Raisins
• Adnams Sole Bay (ABV 10%) with Montezumas Peeling Amorous White Chocolate
• Liefman’s Kriek lambic cherry beer (ABV 4.2%) with Thornton’s Dark Chilli Chocolate

And the runaway winner chosen as the best match was the Liefman’s Kriek lambic cherry beer with Thornton’s Dark Chilli Chocolate.

 Beer and chocolate: the science behind a perfect match
Essentially, beer and chocolate share the same basic taste, which is a balance of bitterness – derived from the cocoa beans in chocolate, the hops in beer – and sweetness – from the chocolate’s sugar and the malted barley in beer. They also deliver a similar mouthfeel: the chocolate melts in the mouth, while the alcohol in beer creates a warming mouthfeel. So when they’re consumed together, the tastes and textures complement each other. Add to that the carbonation in beer, which cuts through the fattiness of the chocolate and you have a truly perfect match.

Live Beer Tasting on ITV’s “This Morning”

18 Mar

Annabel on the TV

Annabel Smith, Cask Marque Training Manager & Beer Sommelier talks about her appearance on ‘This Morning’ to talk about matching stouts and food for St Patrick’s Day.

The day before…

The call came through on a Tuesday afternoon, just less than a week before the event. Could I go on ITV’s This Morning programme to talk about stout on St Patrick’s day?

Of course I can, I said confidently to the researcher. I was told to keep a lid on it until the feature was definitely confirmed, but to get myself organised with some different stouts, and be prepared to be in London for 8am the following Monday.

Putting my thinking cap on, and knowing the beers were going to be sampled by females (Holly Willoughby and Christine Bleakley) I wanted to choose four unusual yet accessible stouts. So the first of numerous frantic phones call to the brewers.

I chose Wadworth Beer Kitchen Espresso Stout first. This was a beer I had first tasted when down in Devizes and I drank it with a sticky toffee pudding, and thought it was sublime. A real showstopper of a beer, perfect with puddings, and I paired it with Tiramisu.

Secondly, Marston’s offered up their Oyster Stout, a gorgeous silky smooth beer which blows Guinness out of the water any day. Their head brewer offered me a selection of food matches, the first of course being oysters. Now call me a wuss, but if there is one food I can’t stomach, it’s oysters. I’ve tried, and tried again, but the words of AA Gill the food critic always return to haunt me as I tip my head back to swallow the slimy molluscs: “Like sea flavoured snot”. Therefore the choices of goat’s cheese or Christmas pudding seemed infinitely more appealing. We settled on a rich fruit cake.

What do all women love? Chocolate. So I had to ask Wells and Young’s for some of their Double Chocolate Stout, made with real dark chocolate and chocolate essence. I wanted something to contrast with this luxurious decadent beer so chose fresh strawberries to highlight the sweetness of the beer. Strangely, the courier who was meant to deliver the beer to me two days before the show informed me that there had been a ‘terrible accident in the back of the transit van and all the bottles had been smashed’. There was no sign of the aforementioned smashed bottles, case or wrapping, so take your own conclusions from what happened to the beer, all I’ll say is it illustrates how much people want this beer. I sent the other half off down to Tesco to buy up their stock.

Finally, I wanted a really powerful strong Imperial Stout – as far removed from Guinness as you could get. Who else to turn to but a brewer in my home county, Black Sheep. They produced an 8.5% Russian Imperial Stout which in my opinion is so special is should be served in goblets, and blessed before you take a mouthful. To match flavour with flavour I picked a strong dark chocolate to go with this.

With my beers all packed up in a suitcase, and the feature given the green light, I started on myself. What to wear on St Patrick’s day? A green dress of course! So I hit the shops with 24 hours to go and returned with a bright green dress with daisies on. My other half took one look at it, wrinkled his nose, and said I looked like a cleaner come dinner lady. It went back in the bag, and I packed my trusty blue frock and a pair of heels I have worn only once before, as they take me to over six foot two. Hell, it’s TV, I’ve got to ramp up the glamour.

Then I had a massive crisis of confidence, thinking the trusty dress might make me look dowdy, so I packed 5 other dresses, just in case. And three pairs of shoes. Oo, and 4 pairs of tights in case of severe ladderage. The suitcase was now straining at the seams.

12 hours to go: style hair with care (not the usual mega nuclear blast with the hairdryer); paint nails and try to remember not to rake wet nails through newly styled hair; check and re-check train ticket and alarm clock.

The day arrives…

At 5.30am I’m on the train whizzing to London. Funnily enough, the bit I was most excited about was the fact the studio had arranged to send a car to pick me up from Kings Cross. Good job really as trying to get a suitcase full of bottles plus half my wardrobe on the tube at 8am on a Monday morning was a task I didn’t relish. Ah, a chauffeur driven car, I day dreamed on the train. A stretch limo maybe, with a uniformed driver, whisking me importantly through the streets of London.

“Smith?” bellowed a chap in a polo shirt standing next to a Prius as I emerged from Kings Cross station. Between us we wrestled the suitcase into the boot (a roof rack might have been more appropriate) and we hurtled towards the City. Well, ‘crawled’ is a better description in the Monday morning traffic.

Then we turned down an alley way. And another. Through a building site. And there, through a tiny entrance I saw a small sign saying “This Morning”. It looked like the entrance to a particularly dodgy underground car park. The driver left me in the hands of security who pointed me towards the back of a warehouse. I walked through corridors of props towards a sinister looking lift. It’s a set up, I thought. This is my punishment for once commenting I thought the world’s biggest selling lager tasted like Alka Seltzer.

The lift popped open and I was thrown into the world of high energy, buzzing television. Well, no not really. It was another corridor, and a lovely young man called Ollie greeted me and told me to get changed straight away. In a cupboard. I struggled into the blue dress, handed the suitcase full of beers over to Ollie, and was escorted into make up. The other two chairs in the room were occupied by two of the most staggeringly beautiful women I have ever seen (shiny blonde hair, skin positively glowing from a diet of lettuce and mangoes, you know the score). Throw a towel over my head now and be done with it, I thought. These girls must be models, presenters, real stars. No, there were there for a feature on facials. We all had an animated discussion about botox, and I nodded and laughed and took part even though it was clear from the lines on my forehead that a botox needle had never been near my face.

Next the rehearsals. In front of the cameras in the studio, a couple of researchers ran through my segment with me, then asked if we could do some shots to use as trailers throughout the programme. I had to stand behind the ‘counter’ and pour a bottle of stout into a glass whilst smiling into the camera. All good to go until the camera man said “Can you bend your knees love, you’re a bit too big to get you all in shot”. The humiliation.

And off to the Green Room. Two hours to wait until my slot so I got chatting to the people who came and went. Martyn Lewis – money saving expert! I’ve no money anyway so he wasn’t that much of an expert to me. Stephen Mulholland – Catchphrase host! (Didn’t speak to anyone so I felt like making up sign language to communicate with him). Kian Egan – winner of I’m a Celebrity and all round boyband member (sigh, so lovely. But very small compared to me in my heels). Oh, and Neil Morrisey passed in the corridor. “Oi, Morrisey”, I felt like yelling after him, “I failed your pub’s Cask Marque assessment five years ago, remember me?” Maybe not such a good idea.

The call came to go on air. At which point – and this is really really odd for me – I started to get the shakes. What if I knocked all the glasses over? What if words wouldn’t come out of my mouth? What if I fell over – or worse, knocked the pregnant Holly Willoughby to the ground?

Camera roll: funny how when you do a feature on beer, the whole studio turns out. Kian, Holly and Christine crowded round the beers, started talking about Guinness and I stared very hard into the middle distance whilst I tried to control the wobbly legs which were threatening to topple me.

So on with the beer tasting – and it went so fast! I managed to get the name of the brewer, the beer and where it was produced into each segment and then it was on to the next, then the next and before I knew it, Holly had a big plate of Chocolate Stout Cake in her hand and was asking me how to make it. Erm, not sure, never made a cake in my life but I waffled about how the addition of stout created a lovely chocolate-y flavour (if in doubt, blag it). I also had to talk through Macaroni Cheese made with Guinness which undoubtedly is the worst beer and food combination they could possibly have come up with, but brave Holly sampled it. I think the look on her face said it all, and we quickly moved onto the Stout Ice Cream, which was a hit.

Cue the music for a break. Holly kissed me. Christine kissed me. Kian kissed me (well, I forced one on him actually) and Ollie the researcher bundled me back into the cupboard to get changed back into my normal Annabel clothes.

Feeling slightly deflated I headed back to Kings Cross for the train back North. I bought a sandwich in Marks and Spencers and caught a chap looking at me. I smiled my best ‘personality’ smile thinking he might have recognised me from the programme. But no, he was just a weirdo.

Back to normality and my lovely life with Cask Marque.

The day is over.

To watch Annabel on ITV http://www.itv.com/thismorning/food/stout-drink-masterclass

Annabel Smith March 2014

Two Dea Latis members gain top beer recognition

17 Jul

The first two accredited female Beer Sommeliers have been announced by the BeerAnnabel and Sophie Academy.  Six months after the Sommelier qualification was launched, Dea Latis members, Sophie Atherton (pictured right) and Annabel Smith (pictured left) were accredited as Beer Academy Sommeliers following a stretching viva examination with Beer Academy Chief Examiner, Dr George Philliskirk.

George said “Traditionally the vast majority of UK beer has been drunk by men.  But things are changing.  Women do enjoy beer but tend to be more discerning that the average male beer drinker.  They like to know how it’s brewed, what raw materials are used and how these affect the flavour of the final product and which beers are the best partners for different foods.

The Beer Academy’s two new sommeliers are exceptionally well placed to take the beer message to both women and men across the UK.  A beer lover for nearly 25 years, Sophie is a journalist and beer blogger writing about beer in the national, local and specialist beer press.  In her work with Cask Marque, Annabel is in regular contact with their 8,000 accredited pubs around the country and in her spare time she is a founding member of Dea Latis, the forum set up to increase women’s awareness of beer.

George added: “We are delighted to welcome two such passionate experts to the pool of Beer Academy Sommeliers that is growing up around the world and look forward to many more women joining their ranks.”

After passing, Annabel, who is also a founding member of Dea Latis, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have achieved the Beer Sommelier accreditation with theBeerAcademy, and it’s an honour to be recognized as an ambassador for beer. I have an absolute love for the beer industry and the wide range of styles and flavours it produces.”

To achieve Beer Sommelier status, Annabel was required to attend and pass a number of BeerAcademy training courses. The courses covered in depth knowledge of beer production, understanding raw ingredients and how they contribute to flavour, identify different beer styles from around the world and understand what types of beer paired best with food.

Annabel had to submit a portfolio of evidence illustrating her practical competence of using beer menus in retail outlets, her knowledge of beer and food pairings and demonstrations of high end beer retailing and image standards through cellar hygiene standards and training retailers

At the assessment with the BeerAcademyon 10th July Annabel had to identify a number of beer styles from around the world, differentiate between them, and illustrate her knowledge of the principles of beer and food matching

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