Cheers to BANJO award winners

January 11, 2017

The drinkers have spoken. Well, maybe not at the same time.


But they have downed glasses long enough to have their say in The Sip’s first annual BANJO awards.


The name stands for the Beer Aficionados National Judging Organisation and last month the group sought the advice of those who love a brew with their inaugural end-of-year prizes.


There were just seven questions – even the Academy Awards had to start somewhere with 12 awards at the first event – but they weren’t for your run-of-the-mill best-of awards.


Responses have been lodged and the BANJO committee is please to unveil the key answers to the survey.


Q1: Who had the COOLEST LABEL in 2016?


Judges notes: Not surprising because Kaiju are always surprising. The one-eye monster dominates another can that not only lures the drinker with its Japanese-movie inspired art but the striking yet contrasting blue and orange colours almost reach from the shelf and drag you in by the head. 


Q2: Which beer or brewery was the MOST STRIKING NEWCOMER?


Judges notes: There was a wide field for this award but the team from the tiny workshop near Fremantle, led by Joel Nash, quickly gained critical and consumer respect with their Drinkstable India Pale Ale, the softer, more melon-tinged Pale As Bro Pale Ale and the Freo Draft Pilsner. 


Q3: What was the BREAKOUT BEER for the year?


Judges notes: You can have the celebrity backers and the slick marketing yet it is the beer that ultimately makes a brewery. The XPA gave Balter the final piece and established the Queensland enterprise as a bold presence in the independent brewing industry. It gave the rest of the country the tropical beer taste of the northern State. 


Q4: What was the STANDOUT INITIATIVE of the past 12 months?


Judges notes: Some call them canimals, others say they're just bloody big tinnies. The easy canning apparatus popped up at brewpubs, bars and liquor outlets across the country. At just under a litre it gave customers the opportunity to take more of a favourite beer home with them while it provided another distribution outlets for the brewers. 


Q5: Who were or what was the LEADER IN CONSISTENCY over the course of the year?


Judges notes: Not only does the Pale Ale remain immensely popular with those seeking hop-edged taste but the rest of the stable including, the Bright Ale, the India Pale Ale and the statesmen-esque Rogers provide outstanding choice. And recent products Dog Days Summer Beer and Hotchkiss Six Stout continue the line of quality yet interesting releases.


Q6: What was your favourite STYLE OF BEER this year?


Judges notes: The head of the panel gave the survey convener a clip across the ear for asking such an inane question. The answer was obvious. It dominates the US independent beer market so why not here. There was also strong support for IIPA.  


Q7: What and where was your PREFERRED CRAFT BEER VENUE - and why?


Judges notes: There was a Melbourne Cup field for this award yet by a couple of nods the Victoria Park, Perth, venue got the prize. One respondent praised the DTC for not only its regularly rotating tap selection but for its bottle range. 


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