The world’s largest annual beer competition judging both draught and packaged beer, the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA), will celebrate 25 years of recognising the world’s best beers this year, with entries opening today.
Established as a national competition in 1987, the AIBA was first conducted as an international beer and brewing competition in 1993, the first of its kind in Australia.
From attracting 124 entries in the first year of the international format the awards have grown and expanded significantly over the 25 years to receive over 1800 entries from more than 300 breweries in 36 countries in 2016.
New to the awards this year is the Consistency of Excellence medal, which will recognise beers of the same label and format that have been awarded a Gold Medal at the AIBA for three consecutive years, since 2015.
“The Consistency of Excellence medal has been introduced to reward brewers who are continually brewing to an exceptional standard,” said Mark O’Sullivan, CEO, The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), the organisation responsible for managing the AIBA.
“We are continually looking for ways to enhance the awards and provide greater value and opportunity for those who enter. The Consistency of Excellence medal gives participants another benchmark to strive for and gives consumers confidence in purchasing high quality products.”
This year’s panel of industry experts, the AIBA’s largest yet with 66 international and local professionals, will be overseen by Head Judge Brendan Varis of Western Australia’s Feral Brewing Company, who was appointed to the role in December.
On his appointment Brendan said “The opportunity for brewers to have their beers independently assessed and benchmarked by an expert panel of their peers, against the best beers from around the globe, makes the AIBA a highlight in many brewer’s calendars.
“I am honoured to accept the role of Head Judge and look forward to playing my part to ensure the AIBA continues to strengthen its reputation as a must-enter industry event.”
Reflecting the diverse and varied production around the world, the AIBA will offer a total of 19 category trophies across different styles, as well as 10 major trophies, including the coveted Champion Australian Beer and Champion International Beer trophies.
The awards will again recognise excellence in beer packaging design, with two trophies on offer for the first time in 2017 for Best Surface Graphic and Best Outer Packaging.
The contribution of beer writers to the promotion, education and awareness of the industry, will also be a highlight of the awards with the Best Media award also on offer.
Brad Rogers from Stone & Wood Brewing Company, who were awarded Champion Large Australian Brewery in 2016, said the recognition has helped the brewery increase international exposure and confirmed the quality of their beers.
“The awards are internationally recognised and for us, sending a small amount of our beer overseas, they provide assurance that we are a brewery that focuses on quality, consistency and brewing good beer. We are grateful for the exposure these awards provide the industry, both here in Australia and globally, and we hope our win inspires others.”
The AIBA is open for entry until Friday 24 March with all details at rasv.com.au/beer.