William Simmons

Kent, United Kingdom

How did you get into the beer industry? Why does beer matter to you?

I have over 30 years of experience in the brewing industry and have worked with regional brewers including Samuel Smith, Batemans, Ruddles, Caledonian, and Fullers. This was mainly on the commercial side, but with good access to the production side, too. Ten years ago I decided to set up my own consultancy to use my expertise in off-trade, free trade, national accounts, and export to support the growing craft brewery industry. Passionate about this marketplace, I have worked closely with breweries such as Beavertown, Wimbledon, Old Dairy, and Westerham, as well as supporting a mobile canning operation with routes to market. I have ten years of judging experience after being mentored by Derek Prentice and John Keeling. I also judge food at the Quality Food Awards and World Steak Challenge. Beer matters because it's part of everyday life, and the pub is integral to this in the UK. My passion is and always will be great cask beer. It's the food of life itself and should never be taken for granted. I love talking over a pint about beer to my dear friends and colleagues across the globe.

Why do you judge at the World Beer Cup? What does judging at the World Beer Cup mean to you?

I judge at the World Beer Cup because it's the most prestigious competition on the planet. The sheer quality and quantity of the entries is mind-boggling. Getting together with likeminded people from many different countries and sharing views and knowledge is essential for one's education. The beer community is very diverse and the people are all knowledgeable and friendly, and willing to share their knowledge. It also makes me very proud that I am considered to be one of those chosen few to participate.