The man who introduced Indian lager to British curry lovers has been recognised with an award.

Surojit Walawalkar, 79, was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award at the Curry Life Awards 2019 in the West End on Sunday November 3.

The Curry Life Awards are hosted annually to celebrate the achievements of people who represent the best of the British Curry Industry.

Mr Walawalkar, now retired, began marketing Indian food products in the UK in the early 1970s for the emerging market, but later switched his attention to the drinks industry. He battled prejudices about the impurity of Indian water and lack of technical expertise on the sub-continent to bring an Indian lager to the UK.

His solution was to bring the Indian recipe for Kingfisher Beer to the UK and have it made locally with Kent Brewery Shepherd Neame. Mr Walawalkar also created Bangla Beer and Lal Toofan, both inspired by India.

Mr Walawalkar is a supporter of the British-Bangladeshi community and spends much of his spare time working as a volunteer with adults with learning disabilities. He is the chairman of Carers and Parents of persons with learning difficulties in Enfield (CAPE) and a member on the LD Partnership Board in Enfield Local Authority.

Andrew Kenny, UK managing director of Just Eat, said: "The Curry Life Awards is an incredibly important event, recognising and celebrating the hard-working restaurants all across the country dedicated to serving fantastic food to their customers each and every day.”

Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer and vice president of the Confederation of British Industry, said: “I congratulate all the nominees and winners of the Curry Life awards 2019. They are an inspiration to us all and, in particular, to the young members of the curry industry family, who I am sure will be inspired by these awards and will aspire to achieve themselves in the future."

Syed Belal Ahmed, the editor of Curry Life Magazine, said: “We have been championing the British curry cuisine for many years and despite being hit by several recessions, it has managed to survive and flourish. There are pressing issues that need to be resolved, such as relaxing overseas work permits and a sensible discussion about spiraling business rates, but the awards ceremony was about recognition and celebration of much loved British curry.”