Voting for this year’s GABS Hottest 100 beers is already underway, and Canberra’s Bentspoke Brewery will be hoping it will score a hat-trick of wins after coming out on top the last two years.

Last years the poll saw nearly quarter of a million votes cast by close to 50,000 consumers, with 58 breweries securing a spot on the Hottest 100 list.

Bentspoke’s Co-Founder, Co-Owner and Head Brewer, Richard Watkins, told The Shout that the wins have helped the brewery with spreading its presence way beyond Canberra.

“The wins help get a better distribution, better awareness across the whole of Australia, and giving the retailer something to talk about. It also gives us something to go to the retailers with and say ‘look this beer just got voted number one craft beer in Australia and if we work with you, we’d love you to stock our beer’.”

Watkins also said that it does help with increasing visitors to the brewpub in Canberra.

“We’re still a relatively small brewery and there’s still people in Canberra that potentially haven’t been to the brewpub or tasted our beers before. So when we do get a bit of media about the wins that exposes us to potential consumers and so we do get people coming along and tasting our beer.

“And it’s great because Crankshaft is the one that’s on the podium, but we also have a lot of other different beers in the range, so if people don’t like Crankshaft then there are plenty of other beers for them to try.”

And what is it about Crankshaft that has seen it on the GABS Hottest 100 podium for the last five years and in top spot for the last two?

Watkins told The Shout: “I think the punters have been flooded with lots of pale ales over a number of years, and Crankshaft being an IPA, and I think that Bentspoke is the only brewery in Australia with an IPA as its biggest selling beer. So it does allow the beer a bit more flavour and it’s something different for the consumer.”

Bentspoke has kicked off its campaign to win this year’s poll in typical Canberra style, launching a faux-political CAN-paign as a nod to being ‘Canberra born an brewed’.

Watkins said: “We’re so grateful that the people of Canberra have supported and backed us from day one, helping grow a local Canberra business. A podium placing in the poll can make a huge difference to the ongoing success of the company and really shines a spotlight on Canberra beer. We’re thankful for everyone who gets behind their local brewery and loves Crankshaft as much as we do.”

He added: “I think the best thing about the Hottest 100, is that it’s the biggest day of the year with people talking about beer, and most of the time they are talking about independent craft beer. So all IBA members, whether they feature in the top 100 or they don’t independent craft beer is being talked about.

“It gives breweries something to leverage when talking to retailers or people who haven’t really tried craft beer before. It’s important that we do have big events that really talk about independent craft beer, because consumer awareness is the best thing we can do to grow our industry.

“We have a lot of our regular customers come in on the day and they love sitting there and going through all the beers as they come up on the screen, so it’s always a good time and it’s just a great celebration of beer.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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