NZ's Deep Creek hand back AIBA trophy

Deep Creek Brewing have handed back the trophy they won for Champion Large International Brewery at last week’s Australian International Beer Awards after discovering they accidentally entered the wrong category.

Deep Creek co-founders Scott Taylor and Paul Brown celebrating at the AIBA event.

Deep Creek, based in Auckland, posted a statement on Instagram and Facebook on Friday night acknowledging they had made a mistake and apologising for the error.

“We were as surprised as anyone to be awarded the trophy for Champion Large International Brewery at the AIBAs rather than for Medium category,” they said.

“On Monday we realised an incorrect unit of measure for brewery volume had been used by our brewers in the entry form.

“After discovering our mistake, we contacted AIBA organisers immediately to begin the process of handing back the trophy so it could go to the rightful winner.”

On the night of the awards, co-founder Scott Taylor admitted he was “surprised” the brewery had won the Champion Large title and after a weekend of celebrating in Melbourne, something didn’t sit right when he and fellow founder Paul Brown got back to New Zealand.

Taylor said the mistake came down to the way the entry form was submitted. AIBA asked for production volume in hectolitres but Deep Creek entered their volume in litres, accidentally multiplying their volume by 100.

“When we got back went through our stuff and found the mistake,” Taylor told Brews News.

He said it took a few days of back and forth with AIBA officials to confirm the mistake and figure out what to do about it.

“We caught it on Monday, we tried to give AIBA a call on Tuesday – they got back to us on Wednesday and said they needed a couple of days to investigate it themselves. They got back to us late Thursday and on Friday we put up a press release.”

The response to Deep Creek’s honesty has been overwhelmingly positive on social media and Taylor said he was still hugely proud of their achievements and is wondering what might have been had they entered the correct Medium category.

The Champion Medium International Brewery title went to Nbeer, from Sichuan, China. The champion brewery titles are based on a brewery’s best four scoring beers and Deep Creek won five gold medals at the event, including two trophies.

Sauvage, a barrel-aged saison, won a gold medal and trophy for best wood-aged beer and was also named Champion International Beer. They also won gold medals for Redwood APA, Kahuna Feijoa Pear Sour, their 2021 fresh hop release, called Fresh Hop!, and Monsoon Double Hazy IPA, which is available only in China and Australia.

Deep Creek had previously won the Champion Small International Brewery title (under 500,000 litres annual production) and Champion Medium International Brewery (500,001 litres up to 2.5 million litres) in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

There were other outstanding successes for New Zealand last week.

Gisborne’s Sunshine Brewing won six gold medals for their Gisborne Gold Lager, Mexican Lager, Pilsner, Stout, No Access Hazy IPA and Stockies Sessionable Hazy IPA. They added five silvers and eight bronze medals for a shiny night.

Waipu-based McLeod’s scored golds with their fresh hop star 802 Series #33, Traders Scotch Ale, Bourbon barrel-aged milk stout and Peach and Feijoa Sour.

New Plymouth’s Shining Peak got golds for their Little Fake (lower ABV), Vintage Stout and Skunk Juice. Taupo’s Lakeman double-dipped with their Hairy Hop IPA and Hairy Craic Irish Cream Stout. And Kereru won gold for their Feijoa Weisse.


The organisers of the AIBA have released the following statement:

Weihenstephan Brewery elevated to the winner of Champion Large International Brewery in 2021 AIBA

Acknowledged by the beer industry for its integrity and credibility, the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) annually assesses more than 2,500 entries from more than 400 breweries from across the world.

Following the announcement of this year’s results, it was brought to light that New Zealand’s Deep Creek Brewing Company is ineligible for the trophy of 2021 Champion Large International Brewery through a human error during the entry process.

Upon verification, and in consultation with the highly experienced AIBA Industry Advisory Group, there was no hesitation in revising the results and elevating Germany’s Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan (Weihenstephan Brewery) to the trophy winner for Champion Large International Brewery.

Weihenstephan Brewery is congratulated on winning the trophy for 2021 Champion Large International Brewery. It is wonderful recognition after undergoing a large-scale expansion in 2019, enabling them to now annually produce more than 450,000 hectolitres of beer. In this year’s AIBA, Weihenstephan Brewery was awarded 9 medals from their 10 entries.

Deep Creek Brewing Company is a long-time entrant of the AIBA and have much to celebrate from entering the 2021 AIBA. This year Deep Creek Brewing Company were awarded 18 medals from 19 entries and won the Champion International Beer Trophy with theirSauvage(Wood- And- Barrel-Aged Beer).

The 2021 AIBA Results Catalogue and associated web pages have been updated to reflect this change.

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