A SMALL brewery run by a Horsell woman has been shortlisted in the Food and Drink Entrepreneur of the Year category for the South East region.

Danielle Bekker, co-founder and head brewer of Binary Botanical, has created a beer and low-alcohol version, which has a less bitter taste than most others and aimed at appealing to wine lovers.

Danielle has more than 20 years’ experience in the brewing industry and worked for SABMiller in South Africa and then its UK headquarters in Woking.

She and a former colleague created the Binary Botanical recipe in her Horsell kitchen, followed by some pilot brewing in Johannesburg, and went from selling beer at Surrey farmers markets to being stocked by Ocado, Amazon and bars and restaurants around the UK, including Michelin-starred L’Ortolan in Berkshire.

Danielle, a chemical engineering graduate who was awarded a scholarship by SABMiller to do a master’s in brewing, said: “The hop leaf is normally thrown away at harvest so it’s actually a waste product. We are quite passionate about sustainability and so we also use brown recyclable boxes, and recycle the bottles.”

She said Binary Botanical aimed to get people to think differently about beer.

“It’s not only a drink that’s for guys down at the pub. We want people to think they can drink it out of a wine glass; you can have it with a meal; men and women can drink it and it can make nice cocktails. It can be so much more versatile than when people just think about beer.”

She said it is a great honour to be a finalist in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

Previous winners include the founders of BrewDog, Tangle Teezer, The LADBible Group, ClearScore and the Cambridge Satchel Company. The regional ceremonies will be held online on 23 September.

For the full story, get the 13 August edition of the News & Mail