Industry Awards – Are They Worth It?

The International Cider Awards (ICAs) and International Brewing Awards (IBAs) are said to be among the most prestigious awards of their kind. Known for having the highest of standards, judged by industry peers and highlighting the best beers and ciders in the world, they are the awards to win!

We asked well-known cider brand Zeffer, winners of the ‘Champion Cider Trophy’ at the International Cider Awards in 2017, to tell us what it means to win an award of this kind.

Zeffer – the world’s best cider!

Zeffer is a New Zealand cider crafted in sunny Hawke’s Bay by a few friends with a determination to show the world just how good New Zealand craft cider can be. They first started crafting their new generation of New Zealand ciders with an antipodean twist back in 2009.

In 2017, they stole the show by entering the International Cider Awards for the first time.

Keen to launch their Cidre Demi-Sec on to the international stage, they entered the awards with the hope of receiving feedback and international recognition. They were bowled over to walk away with both the ‘Best in Class’ and the overall ‘Champion Cider Trophy’.

Made using a small selection of New Zealand grown heritage cider apple varieties, Zeffer’s Cidre Demi- Sec is a traditional French style medium-sweet cider using wild fermentation. The team knew they had a good product – but to receive this endorsement gave the team the recognition they needed to take the product overseas.

Commenting on why they entered, Jody Scott, head cidermaker said: “We make this cider once a year and we were really happy with the way it turned out, but we were looking for international recognition. The International Cider Awards seemed a great fit for us as it is judged by industry peers who are all producing their own ciders! In winning the award it provided us with wider exposure and gave us a good reason to tell more people about our product.

Growing from the corner of New Zealand to being recognised on the world stage, was everything we could hope for. It reaffirmed that we’re doing things right. We had won several awards before in New Zealand and Australia but nothing on an international scale.”

Judged by your peers

The judging line up and process is unique within the industry and still underpins today’s judging process.

The IBAs and ICAs do not use defined style guidelines. This is where the professional industry judges bring their unique insight and expertise and cover a wide range of styles from across the world.

These beer and cider makers know about harvests, ingredients and the processes used to transform the ingredients into products of excellence. They recognise and reward traditional products, interpretations of classic styles or boundary breaking innovations that will find relevance in the market.

Having a panel of current industry professionals ensures a level of experience and language to enable the achievement of consensus after thorough dialogue, when there are no stylistic definitions to rely on.

Judges listen to their peers, considering their points of view. A final decision is agreed, only when every member of the panel has had a say and agreed the outcome.

As Chairman of judging, Bill Taylor oversees the process and stewardship, including the technical analysis and dispensing of samples.  Ensuring anonymity and the consistently high standards that have been synonymous with this pre-eminent event across so many decades. 

It is this thorough process that has led former entrants and winners, like Zeffer, to describe these as the Oscars of the beer and cider industry!
Remember, if you would like to enter, final entry deadline is February 1, 2019 with product to be submitted by February 22.

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