This year’s New World Beer and Cider Awards saw Kiwi breweries and India Pale Ales as the big winners. New Zealand breweries won 10 out of the 12 classes while IPA took home nearly 20 percent of the awards’ gold medals.

Champions included Epic Armageddon IPA, Bach Brewing Driftwood Pacific Pale Ale, Hawke’s Bay Pure Lager and Good George Amber Ale.

Steve Anderson, managing director, Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd, said the New World Beer and Cider Awards are the only New Zealand awards that can give winners an instant boost in sales and brand visibility. “All gold medal winners are guaranteed distribution in New World stores,” said Anderson. “So being awarded a gold medal in our competition guarantees a nationwide audience.”

Michael Donaldson, chair of the independent judges, beer writer and author, said with so many strong entries selecting a Champion in each class was very difficult for the judging panel. A standout was the hotly contested IPA class with more than 70 entries from 45 breweries, which finally came down to technical excellence.

“IPA is the fastest growing sector in the brewing industry, so it’s a highly competitive class in any awards,” said Donaldson. “There are so many techniques to brewing an IPA, different ways to use hops, malt structure, bitter-sweet balance, level of alcohol, all of these create varied flavour profiles which the judges have to assess.”

“When it came to selecting the Champion from our five finalists, what stood out for the judges was the technical excellence of Epic’s Armageddon IPA. And it’s not the first-time Armageddon has triumphed. This is the second year running that Armageddon has won best IPA in this competition, not to mention their other local and international awards. It’s now the benchmark for quality in the IPA category.”

More than 500 beers and ciders were entered by 81 local and international breweries. The entries were blind-judged by a panel of 19 independent expert judges using a collaborative method based on technical excellence, balance, mouthfeel, and most importantly, drinkability.

For the full list of winners click here.