The Drink Easy Awards: new national drinks awards announced

30 April, 2019 by Tam Allenby

(Image credit: Andre Castellucci)

A new national drinks awards, The Drink Easy Awards, is aiming to shake up the way drinks are judged and awarded in Australia.

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The Australia-wide awards have been created by three renowned figures within the hospitality industry: Mike Bennie (P&V Merchants), Duncan Welgemoed (Africola), and Tamrah Petruzzelli (Super Assembly).

According to the team, the core aspiration of the Drink Easy Awards is to educate a wide and inclusive community on what “drinks easy”, as well as where to find these drinks – bringing together all streams of beverage creation in Australia.

While consumers have long relied on wine, spirits and beer shows for gold/silver/bronze medals, or other endorsements embossed on the bottle, the judging at The Drink Easy Awards will be “more egalitarian” with a more collective and representative approach to decision making.

Also, in a first for the industry, a category for non-alcoholic spirits and beer will be included in the awards.

The Drink Easy Awards categories are Beer + Cider, Wine, Non-Alcoholic and Spirits. The head judges for each category are as follows:

  • Head Judge for Beer + Cider: Liam Pereira (Beer and cider judge and educator, NSW)
  • Head Judge for Wine: Emma Farrelly (Wine Director, State Buildings, WA)
  • Head Judge for Non-Alcoholic: Caitlyn Rees (Gourmet Traveller Sommelier of the Year 2017, Wine Director of the Mary’s Group, NSW)
  • Head Judge for Spirits: Griff Blumer (distiller, Poor Toms Gins, NSW)

“For the first time in Australia we have an awards program that brings together all streams of beverage creation in Australia,” says Mike Bennie, co-founder.

“The awards are aimed at elevating collections of drinks that represent not only the notion of ‘high quality’ but the development and creativity found within their community. It’s an award that does away with the old school mode of judging, instead pursuing a wide and inclusive community on what ‘drinks easy;’ and where to find these drinks.

“The awards represent a new paradigm in their national scope, broad and diverse range of judges, relevant criteria for judging and results that are readily and permanently available as references to consumers.

“In the end, the results will speak with clarity of Australia’s most exciting things to drink and provide a permanent resource for reference ongoing.”

The Drink Easy Awards will launch in Sydney on 8 May; submissions will open 3 June and close two months later on 2 August.

Judging will be held in August, September and October, with the awards slated to be presented in Early November of this year.