The Cayman Islands Brewery can add another gold medal to its list of achievements. Caylight was judged the best beer at the recent Caribbean Alcoholic Beverage Awards which took place in Barbados.
The event was one of the highlights of the Caribbean Rum and Beer Festival, and saw a panel of four judges blind taste test 14 Caribbean beers. The panel consisted of a number of different nationalities, ensuring a wide range of palates, with Mark McKenna, author of McKenna’s Guide to Caribbean Beers, serving as one of the panel members.
According to James Mansfield, commercial manager for the Cayman Islands Brewery, the win came as a bit of a surprise, especially as light beers are often seen as inferior to their regular counterparts.
“When we first introduced the light beer, we did set ourselves a target of making it a beer that has some beer flavour to it, rather than some of these North American brands that sacrifice the flavour for the calories and alcohol,” he said.
Caybrew, the original brand launched by the Cayman Islands Brewery, scored an impressive third place, beating out competition from larger brands such as Red Stripe, Heineken, Piton, Banks, Carib and many others.
As Mr. McKenna’s book was written before the establishment of the Cayman Islands Brewery and does therefore not include Caylight or any of its other products, Mr. Mansfield says the author is considering a revision to the publication.
“We are very proud with this impressive win,” says Matthew Leslie of the Cayman Islands Brewery. “The Cayman Islands should be proud that their own brewery has won such a prestigious award to become recognised as a top beer brand in the Caribbean. Our emphasis on quality has definitely paid off!”
For many of the attendees at the festival, this was their first encounter with Caybrew, Caylight and Ironshore Bock.
“Many people did not even realise we made our own beer here in the Cayman Islands,” said Mr. Mansfield. “I guess they do now!”
According to Mr. Mansfield, the recognition the brewery has received since its relatively recent inception has been very heartening to the staff and especially to the brew master, Andreas Moerl.
“I think considering we’ve only been operating four years and we’ve also won the gold medal in the Mondial Selection in 2008 for Caybrew and then this for Caylight it’s huge for the company, and I think it’s great for the Cayman Islands,” said Mr. Mansfield.
The win may well impact the brewery’s future expansion plans, as the win has boosted the brand’s image in the regional beer market, opening doors for regional expansion alongside the further expansion of the brand’s distribution in the US market.