By Andy Young

Entries for the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) have now opened, and will close on Friday, 20 March.

This year's awards, which are conducted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), will spread across 18 categories and will see a total of 30 Champion and Major trophies presented.

The award organisers have also added to this year's programme with the "Gypsy Brewer Trophy". This award will recognise Australian brewers who do not own a brewery and who were previously ineligible for a brewery trophy. The organisers said this award was created to reflect "this growing and emerging trend in the Australian market" adding that it "allows gypsy brewers to be part of the Champion trophy set".

AIBA head judge and Little Creatures head brewer, Warren Pawsey, said: "The Gypsy Brewer Trophy presents a huge opportunity to talented Aussie brewers who have previously gone unrecognised in the industry.

"It opens the programme to a new range of unique flavours and brew styles. There is a lot of quality beer coming from gypsy brewers and I can't wait to see what is put forward."

The 2015 judging panel will see 60 industry experts from around the world assessing the beers against set criteria through blind tastings.

Charlie Hodgson from Mash Brewing, winners of the 2014 Champion Australian Beer Trophy and Best IPA Trophy for their Mash AIPA, said winning at the awards helped increase sales and brand awareness.

"It has done huge things for Mash. This past summer was very busy with most tanks (not just trophy winners) selling out on the day they were kegged or packed," Hodgson said.

Judging will take place 13-15 May, with the awards presentation taking place on Thursday, 21 May, during Good Beer Week.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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