Barossa Valley headlines Royal Adelaide Beer and Cider Awards

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Four people from Barossa Valley holding their awards at the Royal Adelaide Beer & Cider Awards in 2023.

The Barossa Valley is establishing itself as much more than a wine region after Barossa Valley Brewing and the Barossa Valley Cider Company headlined the Royal Adelaide Beer & Cider Awards winners.

Barossa Valley Brewing won four titles including best small brewery and each of their 12 entries was awarded a medal.

The Barossa trailblazer has a long history with the Royal Adelaide Beer & Cider Awards, bursting onto the scene in 2014 when their Canis Majoris IIPA claimed Best In Show.

Western Australian breweries left their impact on the event, with Nowhereman Brewing Co winning Champion Ale and Most Outstanding Beer in Show for the zesty Rhapsody XPA and the Ethel Porter by Watsacowie Brewing Company named Porter or Stout Champion.

McLaren Vale favourite Vale Ale won the Alternative Grain Beer/Speciality Trophy for their full-flavour Foxhat Breaded Mongrel and the Coopers Mid Ale saw the iconic South Australian family-owned brewery awarded Large Brewery Champion.

Chief Beer Judge Stephen Nelson said judging this year was challenging, with industry shifts reflected in this year’s entries.

“We are seeing a return to more drinkability and balance in the craft scene and we have a lot less of the crazier styles this year as lagers have taken prominence,” Nelson said.

Barossa Bock, a German-style dark lager, from Barossa Valley Brewing was awarded Best Lager in a very competitive category.

“Denham and his team have been a perennial favourite at our awards and have been putting out solid beers from Tanunda for a while now.

“They have really established themselves in the heart of wine country and this acknowledgement is much deserved for their years of hard work.”

Nelson said the connection with regions is what made South Australian beer and cider unique.

“South Australia stands alone in having most of our craft brewers outside of the city and sitting in the regions,” Nelson said.

“When you see a brewer like Whatsacowie from the southern Yorke Peninsula winning best Stout while using barley from local farms, it really drives home that connection between beer and our incredible South Australia agriculture.

“We are so lucky to have all of this in our back yard and I would love to see people get out into our regions and see some of our great brewers, just like they do with our wine regions.”

Two men from Barossa Valley holding their awards at the Royal Adelaide Beer & Cider Awards in 2023.

It was also a big night for the Barossa Valley Cider Company, who won all three trophies in the cider and perry categories.

The Marananga cidery was awarded the best Perry Trophy for the second year in a row, as well as the best Cider Trophy and Best South Australian Exhibit.

Their Squashed Apple Cider was also the only cider entry to be awarded a gold medal in this year’s cider categories.

It has been a challenging time for cider producers, with a wet summer not helping producers and the increased popularity of seltzers and fruit beers.

Chief Cider Judge Warwick Billings said that despite the category slowing, craft cider producers continued to perform.

“Entries were down this year, but from the smaller pool we saw generally very well-made ciders across the range of classes,” Billings said.

“Barossa Cider Co had a clarity of character that made it stand out – it was enjoyable drinking with purity.

“Overall, our team of judges considered and deliberated, with depth and complexity making the difference, which meant lifting some to higher awards.”

The winners were celebrated at the Beer and Cider Awards Presentation on Friday, 14 July, as part of the 2023 Beer and BBQ Festival at Adelaide Showground.


The Royal Adelaide Beer & Cider Awards (RABCA) is open to beer and cider producers from Australia and New Zealand.

The Awards were established in 1844 and relaunched in its current format in 2010.

In 2023 RABCA featured thirteen highly coveted trophies up for grabs. Categories included lagers, ales, porters, stouts, reduced alcohol beer, wheat beer, rye beer, alternative grain beers, cider and perry (pear cider).

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