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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 October 2007, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Yorkshire produce
Len Tingle
Len Tingle
Political Editor
BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

The finest ale in the county?

All Yorkshiremen know that the county produces the best beer in the world... and now, the BBC can reveal that Yorkshire beer is applying for "champagne" status.

Brewers across the county have lodged a bid to have "Yorkshire Beer" recognised as a unique regional delicacy - alongside Stilton cheese, Scotch beef and Jersey royal potatoes.

The Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs, Defra, is considering the bid from the Society of Independent Brewers before passing it on to the European Commission for consideration.

Beer writer, Barrie Pepper, who is masterminding the bid on behalf of the brewers, said: "People want to know what they're drinking and where it comes from.

"If it's sold with the name Yorkshire beer, it should be brewed in the county.

Barrie Pepper
If it's sold with the name Yorkshire beer, it should be brewed in the county
Barrie Pepper

"There are already examples of the name of Yorkshire being abused both in Britain and overseas."

EU designation

Yorkshire's only foodstuff to achieve a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) is Swaledale cheese.

Mandy Reed runs the Swaledale Cheese Company in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

Mandy said: "The public deserve the right to know what they are buying, what they are eating and what they are paying for.

"We are passionate about making cheese and we believe that if people think they are buying Swaledale cheese, they would get the real thing."

The public deserve the right to know what they are buying, what they are eating and what they are paying for
Mandy Reed

Product queue

Other Yorkshire foods queuing for protected status are Wensleydale cheese and Yorkshire Indoor Forced Rhubarb.

Now manufacturers can make so-called Wensleydale cheese in Lancashire and Cheshire, and it is perfectly legal.

If they get European recognition, cheeses will only be able to carry the name Wensleydale if they are made in Wensleydale.

Across the Humber, Lincolnshire Plum Bread and Lincolnshire sausages are also seeking the coveted PDO status from the European Union.

Yorkshire feta?

Len Tingle in cheese store
Our own Len Tingle samples the delights in the cheese store

But PDO has not always been good news for Yorkshire producers.

Cheese-maker, Shepherd's Purse, lost a long battle with Europe to carry on producing Yorkshire Feta.

They eventually lost the battle and were told Feta could only be made in Greece.

They still make it and sell it, but, with Yorkshire canniness, have changed the name to Fine Fettle.

PDOs enforced

European PDOs are strictly enforced, for example, Newcastle Brown Ale lost its protected status when the brewery moved production across the river to Gateshead.

Paul Theakston, descendant of a famous brewing family, who opened his own Black Sheep Brewery at Masham said: "I support the bid for Yorkshire Beer.

"There is an opportunity here to protect the integrity of the style of beers that we produce in Yorkshire, and I think that's really valuable."

Phil Willis MP
Phil Willis MP joins the show on Sunday

The Politics Show in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire also examines the bid of Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg for the Lib Dem leadership...

Lib Dem elder statesman, Phil Willis MP for Harrogate, talks to Clare Frisby.

Politics Show for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire follows the national edition of the programme from 12 noon.

Join us on the Politics Show on Sunday 21 October 2007 at 12:00 BST... on BBC One

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Feta-ccompli for big cheese name
30 Apr 07 |  North Yorkshire
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