Lion's pride holds against craft brewers

Beer and cider producers are hoping to emulate the success of the New World wine awards in boosting supermarket sales.

The New World Beer & Cider awards are restricted to minimum production rules to ensure availability and to price limits to make them affordable.

The wine awards have proved highly successful over the years in attracting entries and achieving sales for winning wineries.

These commercially focused awards can be considered more consumer-friendly and avoid the pitfalls of awarding medals to wines that few can buy or drink.

This year, entries in the beer and cider awards totalled 458 different drinks from 83 brewers, mainly from New Zealand but also including imported product.

Some 40 gold medals were given awards, with 13 “best in class.”

One major brewer and leading boutiques shared most of the honours with Lion’s Steinlager Pure winning best Lager.

Lion’s Emerson’s craft brewery in Dunedin won best British-style ale with its Bookbinder.

Auckland brewery Epic was the only entrant to win two best-in-class awards for its Pale Ale and Armageddon IPA (India Pale Ale).

Tuatara, which sold a 35% stake to Wellington investment company Rangatira in 2012, won best Pilsner plus three other gold medals.

Moa, which raised $16 million through a stock exchange listing in 2012, won in the wheat and other grain beer category with its Southern Alps White IPA.

Judges’ chairman Michael Donaldson says these brewers have set a benchmark for nearly a decade but some winners are among the newer brewers, such as Sparks Brewing Prospectors Farmhouse Ale (European-style Ale) and Eagle Brewing Coalface Stout (Stout Porter and Black Beer).

“It shows the quality we’ve come to expect from established breweries has not diminished while the fact relative newcomers are able to reach award-winning standards in such a short time is a reflection of the growing maturity of the industry,” he says.

Other "best-in-class" winners:

  •   American-style Ale – Garage Project Los Lobos

  •   Experimental, Aged, Fruit and Flavoured Beer – Kereru Imperial Nibs

  •   Lower Alcohol and Session Beer – Peroni Leggera

  •   Apple and Pear Cider – The Hills Cider Company Pear Cider

  •   Fruit and Flavoured Cider – Good George Brewing Doris

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