The national awards programme for Scottish brewing has opened for entries in the sixth annual competition which recognises the nation’s best beers and brewers.

Each year, the competition assesses over 300 different beers brewed in Scotland and is judged by a panel of over 30 brewing and business experts from across the UK.

Despite the challenges of the last year, the competition has promised to celebrate all the achievements of the Scottish brewing sector and has renewed its long-standing with Aldi as headline sponsors.

Graham Nicolson, Group Buying Director, Aldi Scotland commented:

“Celebrating the high quality and diversity of Scottish beer is part of our key objectives at Aldi.  We are immensely proud of the strong partnerships we have built with local breweries in Scotland and look forward to launching our 25th Scottish Beer Festival in all Scottish stores this coming October. 

“While the last year has been incredibly difficult for many brewers, we remain committed to providing a fantastic platform for Scottish brewers to showcase their incredible beers through our collaborations.

“We are delighted to be headline sponsor of the Scottish Beer Awards for a 6th consecutive year and encourage all breweries large and small to take advantage of this excellent opportunity in this highly regarded competition.”

There are 8 business categories and 16 taste categories across the competition.  In the popular blind tasting competition, categories include Best Lager, Best Pilsner, Best IPA and Best Pale Ale. There are two new categories in the line-up this year which are the Consumer Engagement Excellence Award and Social Media Excellence Award.

The judging will be chaired for a 6th year by Hilary Jones who also heads up the Scottish Brewing Industry Leadership Group.  She commented:

“Now in its sixth year, the Scottish Beer Awards has really made its mark on the brewing industry in Scotland. There is no better time to reward the innovation and creativity of the sector in its response to the pandemic. I am very honoured to chair the panel again this year and to welcome the many new judges.  We look forward to meeting in a few months’ time to assess the written entries and to blind taste the products entered by breweries from across the country.

“This year we have designed the business categories to recognise excellence emerging from the unique and different trading conditions experienced by brewers of all shapes and sizes over the last year. In particular, to those brewers who thought outside of the box to create innovative thoughtful ways to engage with their loyal consumers - and undoubtedly new ones - and pave the way for permanent new routes to market.”

Full details for the 2021 programme including the category line-up, entry guide and terms and conditions are available on the Scottish Beer Awards website and entrants have until Wednesday 21 July 2021 to collate and complete their submission for consideration.   

The winners will be announced at the Scottish Beer Awards dinner and digital event which takes place in Glasgow on Friday 8 October 2021.  The awards will again support The BEN, the Benevolent Society of the Licensed Trade of Scotland. 

For details on available sponsorship opportunities, please contact 


Judging Panel 

Tim Blades, Account Manager, New Wave Distribution 

Fergus Clark, Consultant 

Christie Clinton, Buying Director, ALDI 

Joe Dick, Beer Importer & Distributor, James Clay

Ritchie Duncan, Brewer, Fallen Brewing

Rosalind Erskine, Senior Journalist, The Scotsman

Ruth Evans, CEO, BFBi 

Aidy Fenwick, Freelance Beer Marketer, Beer Pressured

Seoridh Fraser, Beerhive

Andrew Gibson, Marketing Manager, Vault City Brewing

Rob Gilmour, Senior Buyer, Flavourly 

Wesley Hall, Sales Manager, Black Isle Beer

David Hannah, Area Sales Manager, Muntons 

Adam Hardie, Partner & Head of Food & Drink, Johnston Carmichael 

Ian Herok, Director, Still Brewing Company  

Colin Johnstone, Craft Brewing & Distilling Sales Manager, Crisp Malting

Hilary Jones, Non-Executive Director, WEST and Chair of the Judging Panel  

Deb Kennedy, Leadership and Management Support Consultant  

Keith Lugton, Group Liquid Development Manager, C&C Group 

Rob Mackay, Creative Director, Drygate Brewing Co 

Dr Dawn Maskell, Director, International Centre for Brewing & Distilling, Heriot Watt University 

Aly Mathers, Head of Bars, Fierce Beer

Sara Mele, Hospitality Consultant

Isla Mercer, Project Manager at Shaw

Christopher Miller, Director, Craft Beer Clan 

Sean Murphy, Digital Journalist

Sir Geoff Palmer OBE, Professor, International Centre for Brewing & Distilling, Heriot Watt University 

Robert Percival, Regional Sales Manager, Lallemand

Nix Prabhu, Craft Beer Passport

David Reid, Director, Because Brands Matter 

Anna Rogan, Beer Buyer, Luvianns

Pete Sherry, Owner, The Beer Hive 

Ali Stewart, CEO, Flavourly  

Steve Stewart, Managing Director, Stewart Brewing

Rachel Sutherland, Assistant Professor, International Centre for Brewing & Distilling, Heriot Watt University 

Amélie Tassin, Founder, Beers Without Beards

Dan Unwin, General Manager, Brewers Select

Graeme Walker, Professor of Zymology, Abertay University 

Marc Watson, Head Distiller & Distillery Manager

Chris Williams, Director, Williams Bros Brewing Co

Dominic P Wright, Director, Oude & Gruit 


Business Categories 

Scottish Brewery of the Year 

Brewer of the Year 

Sustainable Brewery of The Year - NEW

Branding Excellence Award

Product Development Team of the Year 

Consumer Engagement Excellence Award - NEW

Best Beer Bar 

Social Media Excellence Award – NEW


Taste Categories 

Best Lager 
Best Pilsner 

Best Pale Ale 

Best IPA 

Best Session Beer 

Best British Style Ale 

Best Amber or Dark Ale 

Best Porter 

Best Stout 

Best Amplified Beer 

Best Sour Beer 

Best Fruit Forward 

Best Barrel Aged Beer 

Best Juicy or Hazy Beer 

Best Speciality Beer 

Best Low or No Alcohol Beer