On the day it was kicked out of the Australian craft brewing industry, White Rabbit has claimed the biggest beer prize in the country.
White Rabbit’s White Ale was judged the Champion Australian Beer at the Australian International Beer Awards in Melbourne, with the trophy being collected by the Lion team of Warren Pawsey, Russ Gosling, Ash Cranston, Leigh Bridges and Allison MacDonald, above.
The brew also collected the Best Wheat Beer in category.
White Rabbit is part of the Lion brewing empire and as such can no longer be associated with the body formerly known as the Craft Beer Industry Association.
The group, of which the majority are small operators, voted overwhelmingly yesterday morning to bar brands that are have a greater than 20 per cent ownership by a major brewery. The move has also forced any CUB, Asahi or Coca Cola owned brands from the body, now known as the Independent Brewers Association.
Yet it hasn’t deterred Lion from producing outstanding beers through its subsidiaries.
Additional beers from the Lion family that claimed medals include Little Creatures Dog Days Summer Beer (gold), James Squire Porter (gold), Little Creatures Pilsner (bronze) and Furphy Refreshing Ale (bronze).
The largest annual beer competition in the world judging both draught and packaged beer, the AIBA celebrated 25 years of recognising the world’s best beers this year, attracting record participation with over 1890 entries across the beer categories.
There were great results for WA breweries with Margaret River-based Beer Farm collected the top gong in the International Lager category for its India Pale Lager (draught).
The team at Indian Ocean in Mindarie earned its gold for its Street Beer in the Other Specialty Beer considerations.
Colonial Brewing Company won best label design for its Pale Ale cans. The label also took home a gold in the Kolsch category for its Draught.
Relative newcomer White Lakes Brewing from Baldivis was awarded a gold medal for its draught under the Ordinary Bitter section.
Perennial winners Gage Roads picked up a gold medal in the Imperial Stout category for its Draught.
Mash Brewing topped the list in the Reduced Alcohol Ale grouping when its Three Fiddy Draught earned a gold medal.
Denmark’s Artisan Brewing collected another honour for its Tripel Treating which took the top medal in the Fruit section.
And Fremantle-based Innate Brewers won its first AIBA gold when its Watch This Space IIPA was judged amongst the best Imperial India Pale Ales on show.
First time entrant Balter Brewing Company from Queensland was awarded Champion Medium Australian Brewery, also taking home the Garry Sheppard Memorial Trophy for the Best New Exhibitor, with Pelican Brewing Company, awarded Champion Medium International Brewery for the third consecutive year, in a testament to the Oregon USA- based brewery’s consistent quality.
Queensland’s wins continued with Champion Small Australian Brewery won by Green Beacon Brewing Co, whilst New Zealand took home the last of the Champion brewery honours with Deep Creek Brewing Company awarded Champion Small International Brewery.
The Australian Gypsy Brewer Award was presented to ACT brewers Pact Beer Co. who began production in 2015.