There has been good news and bad news recently for different beer awards in Australia as organisations continue to grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) for 2020 have been cancelled because of the virus, but the 2020 Independent Beer Awards (Indies) will go ahead with some changes made to the judging process.
Entries are now open for the Indies, with the Independent Brewers Association, saying: “In a year that has been challenging in unexpected ways, quality is more important than ever. This is an opportunity for brewers to be rewarded for their hard work, and to benchmark their beer against their Indie peers.
“In the interest of safety, and assurance the awards will go ahead, we have made some changes for 2020. The main difference is that judging will be done at smaller locations around the country, rather than one central location. Because of this, judges will be selected by the IBA technical committee, instead of the usual application process.
“This change gives flexibility to judge in smaller groups without the need for excessive travel. Unfortunately that means we won’t be able to judge kegged or draught beer. All entries will need to be packaged and comply with the mandatory labelling regulations outlined on the IBA website.”
Independent brewers have until 2 September to enter the awards, with judging taking place from October 19 to 23. Full details on entry and style guidelines are on the Indies website.
Meanwhile the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) has said, with the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and in particular the social distancing restrictions in place, it has made the decision to cancel the 2020 AIBAs.
RASV Chief Executive Officer, Brad Jenkins, said he was disappointed to make the announcement but ensuring the health and safety of the officials, exhibitors and staff was paramount when reaching the decision.
“When considering the current global COVID-19 pandemic, the health of our judges and volunteers has been at the forefront of this decision to cancel the 2020 Australian International Beer Awards,” said Jenkins.
“The Australian International Beer Awards are reliant on the input of the international and interstate beer and brewing community for both entries and providing experts for the judging panel. With the current restrictions in place in the State of Victoria and across the world, it wasn’t possible to confidently ensure that we could conduct the Awards this year.”
The RASV said it “greatly appreciates and values the support and understanding” of the brewing industry and it was looking forward to the Australian International Beer Awards returning bigger and better in 2021.