Evelyne Canterranne, taster management adviser; Richard Boughton, managing director; Boris Gadzov, director of taste managment; Marie Pohler, taster management adviser
‘Beer Taster’ would top many people’s list of dream jobs – but in reality most applicants would be daunted by the rigorous training required for the role.
FlavorActiV, a British company specialising in the training and management of beer tasters, has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category. The honour is its third Queen’s Award since 2005 – an achievement believed to be unequalled in the brewing arena.
The company works with the world’s leading brewers, and has more than 2,000 customers in 170 countries. Richard Boughton, FlavorActiV’s managing director, asserts, “In any pub or bar you walk into, in any part of the world, the likelihood is that at least one of its beers has been tasted by a FlavorActiV trained taster.’
Brewing is one of the world’s biggest consumer industries, almost 2 billion hectolitres are drunk annually around the world, and there are tens of thousands of beers available, ranging from iconic global brands to brews from smaller, craft brewers, sold in just one region of one country.
What they have in common is a distinct flavour profile, derived from the type of water, variety of malted barley and hops and strains of yeast used. Ensuring that those flavours are consistent, and that a beer’s taste fully meets customer expectations, has traditionally been a brewer’s biggest challenge.
Founded in 1996, Oxfordshire-based FlavorActiV has developed a range of tools to address the core quality issues of beer flavour. These range from on-site taster training tailored to the production processes of global brewers to online advice which can enable a small craft brewery to quickly diagnose and address quality issues.
“Every beer has a unique flavour fingerprint,” says Boughton, “ranging from key characteristics such as the level of bitterness, to subtle undertones such as citrus or caramel notes. Creating the flavour, and recapturing it brew after brew, has always been described as the ‘brewer’s art’. What we do is apply some robust science to the process.
“At every key point from selecting the raw materials to pouring the pint in the bar, our systems and support can ensure the beer matches its flavour profile, helping breweries to immediately spot any potential problems, and ensure that essential quality and consistency are achieved.”
FlavorActiV’s directors have a wealth of hands-on operational experience in brewing and brewery production, and the business employs a multi-lingual team of specially trained Taster Management Advisers (TMA) providing worldwide training and support. These TMA’s speak 14 languages between them and travel across the world to deliver training.
The company received its first Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2005, also in the International Trade category. “In the six years since that first Queen’s Award, we’ve more than doubled our overseas business, and opened up new geographical markets including Russia, China and India, three of the world’s largest beer markets.” said Boughton.
In 2007, FlavorActiV won a Queen’s Award in the Innovation category. This award recognised the company’s Taster Validation Scheme, which allows professional beer tasters to monitor and improve their performance.
Christian von der Heide, technical director, global beer for international drinks business Diageo, praised FlavorActiV’s “outstanding accomplishment”. He said: “Being recognised three times with the Queen’s Award is just amazing.”
Eric Welten, Heineken’s Sensory & Analytical Services Manager, said “Three awards is the best recognition you can get which demonstrates the excellent way FlavorActiV is moving forward.”
FlavorActiV continues to innovate, introducing new products and developing flavour management systems for carbonated beverages, fruit juices and waters. “If we thought the subtle difference in flavour between some beers gave us a tasting challenge, try identifying some of the faults that can occur in soft drinks, with a number of beverages that traditionally mask many flavours,” says Boughton.
“Winning Britain’s most coveted business prize for a third time is a significant achievement for FlavorActiV, and recognises the hard work of all our employees around the world, as well as the commitment of the global brewing industry to quality.
“Our previous wins have increased customer awareness of FlavorActiV and helped to cement the high standards of quality that the business stands for.”
Notes to editors
- FlavorActiV operates in Europe, North America, South America, Asia Pacific, Africa, The Caribbean, China and South East Asia.
- New markets opened in the six years since its first Queen’s Award include Russia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, China, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Nigeria, Mexico
- FlavorActiV has more than 2000 customers ranging from the world’s largest breweries to the smallest craft and independent brewers in 170 countries around the world.
- More information about the Queen’s Award can be found at http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/layer?topicId=1084953735
For more information please contact Dale Smith via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone: +44(0) 1844 355496