Brendan Varis named AIBA head judge

Brendan Varis

Brendan Varis, founder and head brewer of Feral Brewing Company, has been appointed Head Judge of the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA), the world’s largest annual beer competition judging both packaged and draught beer.

Brendan brings to the position a wealth of experience and knowledge having judged at the AIBA since 2011, including as table captain, and contributed to the planning and direction of the awards as a member of the industry advisory group since 2015. Internationally Brendan has also been a Judge at competitions including World Beer Cup, Great Beers of Britain and the NZ Brewers Guild Awards.

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 playing my part to ensure the AIBA continues to strengthen its reputation as a must-enter industry event.”

Beginning his career after completing a Diploma of Brewing with the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, Brendan entered the craft brewing industry in 1998 as a Project Manager and Project Brewer for a brewery equipment company before founding Feral Brewing Company in WA’s Swan Valley in 2002. Under his stewardship the label has become one of Australia’s most loved and awarded craft breweries.

“The AIBA has a solid reputation for attracting the world’s best beer judges and we are thrilled to welcome Brendan as Head Judge,” said Mark O’Sullivan, CEO, The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, the organisation responsible for the awards.

“His extensive experience and wealth of knowledge will continue to enhance the AIBA’s credibility as a world-class beer competition.”

Brendan has achieved great success as an AIBA entrant including taking out the Trophy for Champion Medium Brewery in 2013. As a condition of the appointment Feral Brewing Company will not be eligible to enter beers into the awards during Brendan’s tenure.

Entry to the 2017 Australian International Beer Awards opens on Tuesday 7 February, with 2017 marking 25 years of the competition.

For more information visit or follow @AIBABeer on Twitter.

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