AIBA feedback and fame invaluable say brewers

Following the Melbourne Royal Australian International Beer Awards last week, Brews News spoke with Beerland Brewing, Stomping Ground Brewing Co. and Moffat Beach Brewing about what it means to win at the awards.

After first winning the award in 2018, Western Australia’s Beerland Brewing won the Champion Australian Beer award again, this time with its Imperial Kettle Sour called Beerland Blueberry Clouds.

Head brewer Ken Arrowsmith said it was an unexpected win for the brewery, which first opened in 2014.

“We weren’t expecting it and you never are with these award shows. But we’re absolutely stoked to win the Australian Champion Beer again,” he said.

The brewery, which also won the Best Fruit Beer award as well as medals for smaller categories, highlighted the opportunities brought forward by the AIBA.

“At a very basic level, it’s a great way of bringing the industry together,” Arrowsmith said.

“The brewing industry is generally quite a collegiate atmosphere so it’s part of the glue that holds it together.

“Any publicity is good for brands, particularly for any small breweries who want to grow their sales and volume. Getting your name out there at these prestigious awards, it has to help.”

WA’s Beerland took home AIBA 2022 Champion Beer

Co-founder of Stomping Ground Brewing Co. Guy Greenstone agreed and said there’s benefits for all breweries exhibiting at the awards.

“It’s really a no-lose situation,” he said.

“If you don’t perform well, you get valuable feedback on how you can improve and if you do, it’s a great reward for the hard work the team has put in and a great reason for our customers and consumers to connect with us and our beers.”

The Victorian brewery performed well in major categories, winning Champion Medium Australian Brewery, Best British Or European Style Ale with its Raspberry Smash and Best Porter or Stout with Bunker Porter.

“The AIBA are the pinnacle awards for our industry so we couldn’t be more thrilled,” Greenstone said.

“We had no expectations going in knowing how challenging it is to win trophies and golds at the AIBA and what a large field of excellent brewers enter their beers.

“For us it’s an excellent way to benchmark ourselves against the best in the industry when it comes to flavour and quality. It’s also a way for us to get feedback from a panel of amazing judges on our beers and how we can improve them.”

Queensland brewery Moffat Beach Brewing also took home a slew of awards including Champion Small Australian Brewery, Best International-Style Pale Ale for its Shadow Of The Moon Eclipse Strong Pale Ale and Best Traditional India Pale Ale with its Trilogy Best Coast IPA.

Head brewer and co-founder of Moffat Beach, Matt Wilson, said it was an important achievement for a small brewery.

“We put our heart and soul into these beers, and the whole team works so hard to ensure every beer we brew is at the highest possible quality,” he said.

“To have it all come together, and to have that hard work recognised with these awards, is an incredibly special feeling.”

Wilson also explained how the awards provide an opportunity for brands to improve their exposure to a wider audience, through impartial judging.

“The feedback you receive from the judges is incredibly valuable,” he said.

“It’s unfiltered and impartial advice from some of the brightest in brewing.

“We’re a tiny little operation based on the Sunshine Coast, so these awards for us are just a wonderful way to get our name out there in the broader beer community.”

While winning an award is an achievement in itself, Ken Arrowsmith explained it’s up to breweries to capitalise on this success.

“The obvious marketing opportunities as a result of actually winning something, they exist, but you do have to be prepared to do something with it, if you are going to capitalise on winning any award,” he said.

“It makes you feel good and it might impress your friends, but unless you find ways of effectively communicating that to the public, it’s not going to give you a massive boost to your sales or suddenly turn a small brewery into a large brewery. It’s a lot more complicated than that I think.”

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