The New World Beer & Cider Awards is back, toasting the New Year with the launch of its 2022 search for the top beers, ciders and other fermented delights from New Zealand and around the world.

The competition offers entrants the winning combination of professional judging and the chance to boost brand awareness and sales in New World stores nationwide. The Top 30 winning brews will be sold in 140 New World supermarkets and receive comprehensive promotional support.

Now in its eighth year, chair of judges Michael Donaldson says the awards’ unique consumer focus continues to be a win-win for both producers and beer and cider-loving shoppers alike.

“As more shoppers are drawn to craft beer and cider, many need help navigating the array of beautifully designed cans and bottles. These awards help consumers by offering them the best of the best across a wide variety of styles so they can choose with confidence and perhaps experiment a little with some of the amazing flavours our brewers are creating.”

The 2022 awards will see the introduction of a new dedicated class for low alcohol beers (under 1.15% ABV), a category that has seen phenomenal growth in both scale and quality over recent years.

“We’ve had low and no-alcohol entries in the past, including some very impressive Top 30 winners. Introducing this new class is a response to growing consumer demand for these alternatives and a great way to create space for producer innovations to shine.”

As in previous years, an expert panel of 32 independent judges will taste, debate and score each entry based on technical excellence as well as balance and, most importantly, drinkability to determine the overall Top 30.

The 2022 awards will also feature a new Supreme Winner — the top performer from the Top 30 — as well as the 70 Highly Commended brews to create an overall Top 100 list.

One of 2021’s Top 30 winners and a recent Brewers Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards champion, Burkes Brewing Co from Tekapo, underscores the competition’s opportunity for brewers, especially for new brands.

“Beers don’t always fit in the box for their style,” says founder Sebastian Burke, who describes his Top 30 winning hazy #FakeNews, as being towards the lighter end of the scale for an IPA but a firm favourite among his expanding fanbase.

“The great thing about the New World Beer & Cider Awards is that it focuses on the beer and flavour you are presenting without being overly constricted by the technicalities for the style. They’re really considering the whole drinker’s experience, something I think is fantastic for an awards competition.”

Bruce Turner, director and co-founder at Auckland brewery Urbanaut, is another enthusiastic winner and encourages other brew brands to enter.

“The variety and quality of the Top 100 is getting better every year,” he says. “We always put our best beers forward with our sights firmly on a Top 30 finish. This can get our winning beers into New World stores in parts of New Zealand we haven’t sold to before and introduce Urbanaut to new customers.”

Having secured two Top 30 spots in 2021 with their Copacabana Brut IPA and Miami Brut Lager, Turner says a double medal result was fantastic, especially for these unique beer styles.

“We are excited by innovation and our Brut-style beers aren’t your typical craft beer. They are brewed to have no residual sugars remaining, giving a dry-finish that lets the hop flavours come through.

“It’s a style we’ve pioneered and continue to experiment with, so the Top 30 result was awesome to reflect the work the Urbanaut team have put into these developing beers.”

The New World Beer & Cider Awards are open to brew brands from around New Zealand and internationally. The key requirements are the ability to provide supermarket compliant product and meet minimum stock amounts.

Entrants do not need to be an existing New World or Foodstuffs supplier to put their best brews forward for judging and new entrants are actively encouraged.

All entry details can be found at newworld.co.nz/nwbca. Entries close on Friday 18 February.

The Top 100 results will be released later in 2022.

This a media release distributed by the New World Beer & Cider Awards.

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