Australian International Beer Awards Dinner 2014

Last night I attended the Australian International Beer Awards Dinner. I thought now would be an appropriate time to review and reflect on this Awards dinner. It was four years ago when I posted my rant about how this beer competition and awards dinner was being run. If you read the post I rage quit entering because I had become extremely frustrated with the organisation and what, or actually what they weren’t doing.

AIBA DinnerI’m not sure if my post had anything to do with influencing change, or I was just the person who expressed themselves publicly. Four years and how things have changed.

VENUE: I enjoy the venue (Peninsula, Shed 14 Central Pier 161 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, Melbourne, VIC) , it is a nice space, feels classy, yet intimate, and suits the industry well. The welcoming area, is set up with ice bins around the perimeter, full of the beer entries from the competition, which you can graze through to find unknown and interesting beers to try. These pre drinks are a great time to catch up with brewers and friends from the industry from around Australia and New Zealand, which you may only see in person once or twice a year if you’re lucky.

The room where the awards are presented are laid out with about 75+(?) tables with 10 at each table. On the centre of the table to an ice bin again with a selection of 2013-05-23 19.48.42random beers that were left over samples from the competition. What are great way to share the left over beer.

There were a record  number of entries – 1,560 brews from more than 294 brewers in 31 countries. For a full list of the AIBA 2014 Results

Including medals for :
Epic Lager – Silver
Epic Armageddon IPA – Silver
Epic Mosaic – Bronze
Epic Carolina – Bronze
Epic Pale Ale – Bronze

(All Epic entries won medals)

AIBA 2014 MenuThe evening was hosted by Paul Mercurio. I really enjoy Paul as an MC for beer awards dinners. He is likeable, entertaining, but most of all he is passionate and understands our industry. He is one of us.

For years we had randoms, who may have been great public speakers or MC’s, but there were times with the cliché jokes about beers, and mispronunciation of beer names or styles that were just too much to handle. Paul has MC’s a number of time at the New Zealand Beer Awards, which on occasion I have been the butt of some of his jokes, but it was all in good fun. I hope he gets invited back next year.

This year I think they finally nailed the food. It was presented well, and tasted great. (see left for menu)

One issue we found was it was slow to get started and we were a couple of hours before we got to announcing trophies. The main course too forever to come out, during which time we just all sat and chatted.

Anyway the speed of the trophies was perfect, fast-moving. The classes with no trophy weren’t even mentioned, so no one knew about these till after it was finished and they looked at the full results.

SUMMARY
– Venue – GOOD
– MC – GOOD
– Beer Selection – GOOD
– Food – GOOD
– Awards speed – GOOD
– Food delivery and start of awards announcements – Room for improvement

All around I was impress and satisfied with the experience. Well done AIBA I look forward to next year.

That is #AIBA2014 done

#AIBA2015 Entries open January 2015

P.S. One thing that might be an improvement (specifically for those that judge the awards) is having the judging at the beginning of the week, and the awards dinner at the end. This way the judges could attend Good Beer Week, and stay for the awards dinner. Be pretty cool for the overseas judges, and out-of-state judges.

#propagate230 – Paul Mercurio made a statement during the evening which proclaimed that there were now 230 breweries in Australia. Everyone including me was like WOW! when did that happen? Last year it was only like 180 (or 170 depending on who you talk to) So 50 breweries opened in Australia in the last year. I asked where did this number come from…   “…doesn’t seem to be a definitive list that I could find in time, but conses by those in biz agreed 230 prob” I’ll see if I can find an official number from.

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