Entries are now open for Drink Easy, a new beverage award calling on Australia’s best and brightest brewers, distillers and fermenters of all drinks alcoholic (and not).

The awards will take place over a series of ceremonies and events throughout November. While there will be judging – in the categories of wine, beer & cider, sprits and non-alcoholics – Drink Easy stands apart from regular beverage awards in a very specific way: there is no one ultimate winner.

The prize is the award itself. Every participant will receive tailored feedback on their product and will become part of a comprehensive catalogue for consumers and the beverage/hospitality community.

Who’s involved?
The event, in partnership with Broadsheet, is spearheaded by co-founders Duncan Welgemoed, chef and co-owner of the innovative Adelaide restaurant Africola; Mike Bennie, a drinks journalist and presenter, and co-founder of P&V Wine & Liquor Merchants; and Tamrah Petruzzelli, a drinks media specialist and director of creative agency Super Assembly.

Categories are judged by talents from each field. Beer and cider is the domain of Liam Pereira, a beer educator, event organiser, tour guide and certified cicerone. The wine category is helmed by sommelier Emma Farrelly, wine director of Perth’s State Buildings and a member of the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne. Spirits are being overseen by Griff Blumer, founder of Poor Toms Gin distillery in NSW. And the non-alcoholic beverage category will be judged by Caitlyn Rees, wine director of Mary’s Group and the 2017 Gourmet Traveller Sommelier of the Year.

What they’re looking for?
Unlike other beverage awards, which focus on technical merit, Drink Easy judges will look at a product’s drinkability, personality and complexity.

This translates as less of a focus on, say, grape variety, and more on a product’s intrinsic quality. All products are welcome – be they wild-fermented beers, unfiltered spirits, natural wines and everything in-between.

Drink Easy is also taking submissions from non-alcoholic producers, a long-neglected category in beverage awards. Judges will apply the same judging techniques, seeking out a product’s inherent quality – from distilled non-alcoholics to kombucha.

How to enter?
Submissions are now open. Entries close Friday August 2. True to its name, Drink Easy applications are simple and straightforward: head to Drink Easy and follow the submissions link.

All states of Australia are able to submit drinks into the competition. Judging events will be held August-October 2019 around the state. VIC and TAS judging events will be held in Hobart, TAS. NSW, ACT and QLD will occur in Sydney, and WA and SA judging will be held in WA and SA respectively. Award winners will be announced in early November 2019.

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