Brewery raises a glass to city real ale pioneer Dave

Dave Wickett, of Fulwood, Sheffield... case study for carcer centre story  See Story Mike Waites  Picture by Chris Lawton'25 Oct  2011
Dave Wickett, of Fulwood, Sheffield... case study for carcer centre story See Story Mike Waites Picture by Chris Lawton'25 Oct 2011

SHEFFIELD real ale pioneer Dave Wickett has been honoured by a brewery in Cornwall.

Sharp’s Brewery at Rock produced a bottled beer called DW and invited him to nominate a charity to benefit from its sale.

The gesture resulted in £6,314 being raised for Cornish Hospice Care – and Dave, who has bone cancer, will make the presentation next Thursday at his Kelham Island Brewery.

Sharp’s head brewer Stuart Howe and hospice care chief executive Paul Brinsley are travelling to Sheffield for the occasion.

“When Stuart Howe heard that I had cancer, he very kindly offered to brew a strong ale with all the profit being donated to a cancer charity of my choice,” said Dave, who was diagnosed two years ago and now uses a wheelchair.

The beer, described by Dave as “a mighty 9.5% special and a barley wine type ale”, sold out after being offered in 750 ml bottles for £10.

The reason it was called DW was spelled out on the label of the bottle.

He has family connections with Cornwall and has got to know the brewery, which is renowned for its Doom Bar ale.

His son, Ed, worked there temporarily last year.

Dave, aged 64, of Fulwood, said he was especially grateful that Sharp’s had found the time to produce the beer at a time when they were being bought by the giant Molson Coors Brewing Company for £20m.

“It’s a wonderful gesture, and it shows what incredible people there are,” he said.

Stuart Howe said: “Ever since he gave up lecturing economics in 1990, Dave has been an instrumental character in the cask ale community and somebody I admire.

“When he told me the sad news, I resolved there and then to make a beer in tribute of Dave and donate the money from the sale of the beer to a charity of his choice.

“The whole process of making DW was beautiful.

“Working with Dave on the recipe, Sharp’s Brewery donating the materials and equipment to make the beer, the team at the brewery giving up their free time to help with the bottling, through to the positive reception the beer got from the drinkers.

“Producing this strong golden ale which was bottled into a limited run of 1,000 champagne bottles was an honour.”

Dave opened the Fat Cat pub and Kelham Island Brewery, which formed a basis for the Kelham real ale trail.

Last year, aged 64, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group.

He was also given an award by the University of Sheffield, from where he graduated in 1976, for his achievements in business and education.

He was one of the first people to recognise the importance of work placements for students and he inspired a masters degree in brewing.