National recognition for ‘Norwich City of Ale’ co-founder at ceremony

Dawn Leeder and Robert Forster of Fentimans. PIC: Justine Trickett 2018

Dawn Leeder and Robert Forster of Fentimans. PIC: Justine Trickett 2018 - Credit: Archant

The co-founder of a Norwich beer festival which helps showcase the city's pub scene said a national award it has picked up will 'inspire us to even greater heights'.

Dawn Leeder, together with city landlord Phil Cutter, founded the Norwich City of Ale festival back in 2011 to celebrate Norwich's pubs and brewing heritage.

This week Ms Leeder attended Personality of the Year Awards in London where she picked up the Innovator of the Year award on behalf of Norwich City of Ale.

Her work in Norwich was described as an 'inspiration' to other towns and cities throughout the UK, giving them confidence that events like this can succeed.

Ms Leeder insisted the awards put on by Imbibe, the magazine for UK on-trade drinks professionals, was a big step for everyone involved in the festival.

She said: 'This award is peer-validation of the ground-breaking efforts of everyone involved in City of Ale.

'It shows that we have national recognition. It will inspire us to even greater heights.'

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Chris Losh, Imbibe editor, said: 'It's always a tough category to judge this, because it covers such a broad spread of ideas – the only unifying factor being the impressive creativity shown by our candidates.

'This year's champion has used her skills in technology and large-scale projects to do something that was different to start with, and has gone on to become truly transformational.'

In 2018 Ms Leeder created the British Beer Cities movement and forum to showcase the many beer weeks taking place throughout the UK and hopes to turn it into a marketing platform for the country's beers, pubs and breweries.

Mr Losh added: 'Her initial idea has brought energy and excitement to entire cities and transformed the way people think about a whole drinks category. And last year, she developed the concept further to make it easier for others to follow her lead. It's a brilliant example of how to develop a good idea into a great one – no wonder our judges described her as 'an inspiration'.'

Roger Protz, editor of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide, who helped launch the 2011 Norwich City of Ale Festival was one of the first to congratulate Ms Leeder for the award, saying it was 'well deserved'.