The Independent Beer Awards broadcasts live around the country on November 25


Who makes the best independently owned beer in Australia? We’ll find out as the Independent Beer Awards (The Indies) returns for 2021.

Presented by the Independent Brewers Association (IBA) the awards will be broadcast out of a Melbourne studio, and just like the first virtual ceremony in 2020, will be streamed live and free via YouTube, or at one of our official parties dotted around the country.

IBA Chief Executive Officer, Kylie Lethbridge says she can’t wait to celebrate the best of Australian independent beer with the nation once again.

“While, for the second year running, it’s a shame we can’t be together as an industry, we’ve learned that doing things virtually can have its upsides. We’ll be back with more live parties around Australia and will be crossing to brewery taprooms and possibly a couch or two,” Lethbridge says. “Last year we got to see people celebrating with family and friends, and it really bought home just how much of a community we are, made up of a wide range of businesses, both small and large, scattered throughout Australia.”

The night will be hosted by Kirrily Waldhorn (aka The Beer Diva) and James Smith (founder of The Crafty Pint), and will feature special musical interludes from Arlo Sim, who spends his days packing beers at Wayward Brewing Co and his nights wowing the country on The Voice, where he made it to the grand finale earlier this year.

As well as upping the entertainment, the number of official parties has grown to give more of our members an opportunity to come together. They will be held in Brisbane (Easy Times Brewing Company – sponsored by Cryer Malt and Yakima Chief Hops), Sunshine Coast (Moffat Beach Brewing – sponsored by Hop Products Australia), Sydney (Grifter Brewing Co. – sponsored by Konvoy Kegs) Canberra (TBA), South Australia (Mismatch Brewing – sponsored by Kegstar and Mighty Craft), Perth (Park Floreat Hotel – sponsored by Konvoy Kegs and Bintani), Margaret River (Shelter Brewing – sponsored by Hop Products Australia), Melbourne (Moon Dog OG – sponsored by Cryer Malt, Yakima Chief Hops, and Konvoy Kegs), and Hobart (Deep South Brewing – sponsored by Hop Products Australia).

It’s been a long journey to get to the celebration with lockdowns, travel restrictions, and the ongoing chaos of the pandemic, but the IBA managed to pull together 34 judges, 50 volunteers and a small team of staff to get more than 1,389 beers from 180 breweries judged over three days in Brisbane. Head judge, Tina Panoutsos, tells us she can’t thank everyone involved enough for the hard work everyone put in to make it happen.

“Due to the ever evolving and ongoing uncertainty we found ourselves in, we were fortunate to be able to lean on a few people that generously stepped up to take on more than what was required at the last minute and throughout the process. I can’t overstate the appreciation and gratitude we have for the mammoth amount of work undertaken to execute this competition,” Panoutsos says.

Head of Events at the IBA, Siobhan Kerin, adds that this year was the most challenging, with rolling lockouts changing judging and shipping constantly. To get the judging done and be able to celebrate the great independent beer on offer is important for all of us.

“It wasn’t easy, but with such a high quality of beer this year, we know the results will reflect the incredible work of our members and indie brewers have been putting in over the past 12 months,” Kerin says.

On the night there will be 26 trophies awarded, including four major trophies (Champion Independent Beer, Champion Large Brewery, Champion Medium/Small Brewery, and Champion Brewpub). Plus, seven State/Territory winners, trophies for champions in style, and the special Peer Nominated trophies, including the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Will Range Brewing retain the title of Champion Independent Beer, or will a new contender rise? Find out 8pm (AEDT) on 25 November, using this link or keep an eye out for invitations and registrations for the state parties.