The judges in action at last year’s Royal Adelaide Beer Awards

South Australia’s talented brewers and cider makers will be showcasing their wares to the general public at a new three-day festival at the Adelaide Showground in July.

Organisers say that the inaugural Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival (10-12 July) is a natural progression for the Royal Adelaide Beer Awards, which have been running since 2011.

“Because of the growth of the number of microbreweries in South Australia it seemed to make sense to hold a beer festival,” said Brad Ward, projects officer at the Royal Adelaide Show. “We saw that there was a hole in the market.”

The new festival, which will include the announcement of the 2015 Beer and Cider Awards, is expected to attract 30 exhibitors from around Australia and overseas. Festival-goers will also enjoy degustation dinners, exclusive beers and ciders, live music, DJs and dishes prepared by some of Adelaide’s top chefs.

Winners of the 2015 Beer and Cider Awards will be announced on the opening night (Friday, 10 July).

“At this stage we’re hoping that approximately 65 per cent of the beers and ciders on offer at the festival will be from South Australia, but the rest could come from anywhere,” said Ward.

Adelaide Showground has appointed Gareth Lewis to head up the new beer and cider festival. Apart from being one of Adelaide’s most successful bar and pub entrepreneurs, Lewis has also run a number of major outdoor events such as Big Day Out, Parklife and Soundwave.

The launch of a major new beer festival in Adelaide underlines the strength of the craft beer market in Australia. Sales of craft beer in this country are tipped to increase by 5 per cent annually over the next five years, while commercial beer sales are expected to grow by a sluggish 1.7 per cent (Source: IBIS World). The outlook for cider is even more impressive, with sales of this beverage expected to increase by a whopping 21.5 per cent annually over the same five-year period.

Although South Australia’s craft brewing sector is fairly small compared to craft pioneers Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, the past 18 months has seen a raft of new openings, including Big Shed, MisMatch, Little Bang and Pirate Life all cranking out some fantastic brews – while Sydney brewer Young Henrys is on track to open an Adelaide brewery later this year.

Festival organisers are hoping the new event will help raise the profile of that state’s artisan brewers and cider makers who have long played second fiddle to the state’s illustrious winemakers.

“In this state beer and cider has always been slightly overshadowed by our wineries,” said Ward. “I think it’s now time for them to enjoy the limelight – some of the stuff our brewers and cider makers are now producing is just awesome.”

Tickets to the Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival can be purchased here.


Written by Mark Chipperfield


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