Kevin Barry's story about a group of middle-aged men and their passion for authentic beer has been awarded the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award for 2012.
The Irish author was presented with a £30,000 cheque by author Joanna Trollope at a ceremony at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival on Friday (30th March).
Seeing off competition from Orange-prize listed The Sealed Letter author Emma Donoghue, Jean Kwok, Tom Lee, Robert Minhinnick and Linda Oatman High, Barry's tale was described by judge Melvyn Bragg as a story which "takes a disregarded and often scorned stratum of male pals and finds wit, pathos and great energy."
Hanif Kureishi, another prize judge, said: "Our winning story performs a deft bit of alchemy, taking a very ordinary group of amateur ale connoisseurs and transforming them and their not instantly appealing tastes into something sweet, funny and unexpectedly moving. Barry follows the camaraderie and unique bond of these men on their train journey from Liverpool to Llandudno with a sensitivity that never transgresses into sentimentality.
"It's a beautifully constructed piece of writing that says something fresh about how men find comfort, support and humour in each other's company. This is an astonishing story that is both daringly original and full of heart."
The runners-up received £1,000 each and have their work published online and in a Waterstones anthology which is available to purchase for £2.99 in store and through waterstones.com.