Older readers may remember that about 18 months ago I was runner-up in the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group's Beer Drinker of the Year Award, which I took to mean I was Britain's second-best beer drinker. Some might say that on this performance, I'm carving out a niche for myself as the biggest Number Two on the British beer writing scene.
The judge's comments were of course complimentary, but laced with a thread of chastisement. Apparently I'm "improving" as a journalist, with the main improvement being that I'm "less laddish". I can only apologise to fans of my first book, Man Walks into a Pub, for this development, and promise to try to be more fatuous, rude and irreverent in future. Let me start by urging you to go here and click on 'drunk words', for a reminder of the kind of writing that has apparently prevented me from winning much in the past.
When I won silver I simply assumed that I'd been beaten by Stonch - but it seems it wasn't his year. The gold award went to Zak Avery, who embraced the medium more fully than I by being more prolific and also posting a regular video diary. Given that I have trouble pasting pictures on this blog, if you're going to call your award 'best use' of new media he deserves it hands down.
Zak then went on to beat some very distinguished and talented writers to be named overall Beer Writer of the Year - a magnificent achievement for someone who is a relative newcomer to the scene. Congratulations Zak.
The only problem I have with this result is that I just assumed Ben McFarland was going to win this year. If you win one year you're not allowed to enter the next, and Ben has won every year he's been allowed to enter since he started writing. Zak's success means I now have to face competition from Ben in the awards next year when my new book comes out. Looks like the best I can hope for will be number two again.