The finalists in the third annual Scottish Beer Awards have been announced with 36 breweries and 192 beers all brewed in Scotland progressing to the finals of the national competition.
The successful candidates have progressed from 296 beers received in the highly regarded programme sponsored by ALDI.
The awards cover both taste and business performance and were judged last week by an experienced judging panel consisting of some of Scotland’s foremost brewing and beer experts.
Of the finalists, Edinburgh-based Stewart Brewing leads the race with 16 beers reaching the finals in the taste categories. BrewDog, The Innis & Gunn Brewing Company and Tempest Brewing Co. and are next with 12 beers each and Cromarty Brewing, the rural brewery based on the Black Isle, and Fierce Beer from Aberdeen each have 10 beers in the finals.
Five breweries will fight it out for the ultimate award, the Scottish Brewery of the Year which will be presented by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers; Eden Mill, Edinburgh Beer Factory,
Fierce Beer, Stewart Brewing and The Innis & Gunn Brewing Company.
Nearly 300 Scottish beers were tasted by 25 judges and were marked according to a range of tasting standards, managed by the international sensory management consultancy, Cara Technology. In addition, 84 written entries covering breweries’ business performance in areas including marketing, innovation and product development, were debated in a session which was chaired by former S&N Technical and Quality Director, Hilary Jones. She commented;
“To make it to the final stage is an achievement in itself. Due to the huge surge in the volume and range of beers entered this year, just over half of the entered beers have progressed to this stage.
“The beers which have made it to the final had to achieve a high standard of marks in the rigorous tasting session all of which was conducted blind and managed by the excellent technical team at Cara Technology. The finalists we have selected in the business awards clearly demonstrate the strength and potential of the brewing industry in Scotland.”
In the business categories, a new category has been created for Emerging Brewer of the Year, sponsored by ALDI, to recognise promise and potential in newly qualified brewers. There are three finalists in the category from The Innis & Gunn brewing Company, Redcastle Brewery and Merchant City Brewing Co.
Finalists are now being sent a digital marketing package to enable personalised branding of finalist beers to take place. The finalists will also receive branding support in the aisles of ALDI supermarkets in Scotland.
Graham Nicolson, Group Buying Director, ALDI Scotland, commented:
“We are thrilled to be the headline sponsor of the Scottish Beer Awards for the third year running. It gives us great pleasure to see so many of the Scottish breweries that ALDI works with take their place in this year’s shortlist.
“Scotland’s beer industry continues to thrive and we’re very proud at ALDI to play an important part in the continued success and growth of this sector. The quality of the beer produced in Scotland is truly world class and will continue to hold an important place on our shelves. We wish all the finalists the very best of luck in this year’s competition.”
All medal winners will be announced at an awards celebration and gourmet beer-paired dinner on Thursday 27th September 2018 at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange. Tickets cost £120.00 + VAT per person or £1,200.00 + VAT for a table of 10.