Craft Beer Awards rebranded as 'The Indies'

Entries to The Indies are now open

Entries are now open for the 2018 Independent Beer Awards Australia!

Today, the Independent Brewers Association (IBA) opens for entries a revamped awards competition. The Independent Beer Awards Aus., known as ‘The Indies’ has undergone a transformation, with independence the key tenet underlying the competition. Changes to the competition, formerly known as the Craft Beer Awards, include an invitation to international independent brewing companies and a restructure of the competition trophy categories.

Top of mind in the reappraisal of the awards is independence. In 2017 the IBA, at the request of its members, undertook reform in order to deliver a clear and focused voice for the independent brewing industry in Australia. The Indies, open only to independent brewing companies, strengthens the focus of the IBA and serves two of the IBA’s strategic platforms: awareness and quality.

“Independence is a word that carries enormous meaning in the consumer beer market”, said IBA Chair, Ben Kooyman. “Independence communicates the passion, commitment and connection of the brewers and staff to their beer, the beer drinker and the local community.”

Beer Cartel’s 2017 Craft Beer Survey Industry Report, found that beer drinkers have a strong desire to support independence over other ownership types and want to know who owns the beer they are drinking.

Kooyman said the IBA is committed to elevating the appreciation of beer and the independent brewing culture. “The Indies reward excellence and quality in the independent beer market,” he says. “Beer drinkers are discerning. They care about who makes their beer and demand quality experiences. This underpins a brewer’s quest for quality. When a beer carries a medal from ‘The Indies’, a beer drinker can know they are buying a high quality beer from an independent business that works extremely hard to get that beer out there in their hands.”

Another key change for the awards is an invitation to international independent breweries. International brewing companies are eligible to enter The Indies if the beer submitted has Australian distribution and the brewing company can meet the IBA membership criteria, which defines a small independent brewing company as producing less than 40 million litres per annum and is less than 20% owned by a large brewing company. Katherine McLean, Competition Manager and Head of Events for the IBA says the decision to invite international independent brewing companies is three-fold: it strengthens the global movement toward independence, reflects consumer choice for the beer drinker in Australia and underpins the future growth and relevance of the competition.

“The revisioning of the awards is the perfect time for bold decisions,” said McLean. “Competition in our industry is healthy. We have started with humble aspirations inviting international brewing companies and no doubt this foundational move will change and grow as the competition grows. The Indies will showcase the extraordinary national and international independent beer that is available on the Australian market.”

The Champion Trophy categories have also been restructured in the Indies to better reflect the judges’ sensory experience of entered beers. No longer will a world-class Belgian Lambic be judged against a world-class Belgian Quadruple to win a Champion Trophy. Michael Capaldo, a member of the independent think-tank of experienced judges advising the Indies says in previous years these beers sat within the same Champion Trophy category, although they are worlds apart from a sensory perspective. “By re-ordering the beers into different categories, we are creating a more level playing field for the entered beer and assisting judges to make excellent decision when awarding champion trophies,” Capaldo says.

In 2018, the Champion Trophy categories are:

  • Pale Ale
  • Amber/Dark Ale
  • Porter/Stout
  • Hybrid Beer
  • Lager
  • India Pale Ale
  • European-style Ale
  • Session Beer
  • Strong Beer
  • Mixed Culture Beer


  • 3 x Champion Australian Independent Brewery (small, medium, large)
  • Champion International Independent Beer
  • Champion Australian Independent Beer

Entries to the Indies close on Friday 11 May 2018.

The Indies Awards Ceremony will be held on the evening of Thursday 28 June at the iconic Paddington Town Hall in the centre of one of Sydney’s fashionable districts. The Indies Award ceremony concludes BrewCon 2018; the annual brewers’ conference, this year being held at the Australian Technology Park in Sydney 26 – 28 June 2018.

For further information about the Indies, visit

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