New World supermarkets’ annual Beer & Cider Awards were announced on Monday. It’s a varied line up, ranging from major brewers international and local, to a couple of little gems.
Epic Armageddon picked up yet another gold medal – its fourth in a year. Brewer Luke Nicholas must be an alchemist, because he’s clearly invented a gold-magnet here.
Other established craft brewers were also represented – Garage Project, Tuatara, Moa, Kereru and Good George. But it was two small craft brewers who caught my eye for their best-in-class results: Sparks Brewing Prospector Farmhouse Ale and Eagle Brewing Coalface Stout.
Sparks Brewing’s a small contract brewer based in Auckland, and owner Adam Sparks says “the win means we’ve made more beer last month than we have in the past year.”
New World says best-in-class winners are required to deliver 2400L-3600L of bottled or canned beer during the Awards’ promotion. “I’m essentially a home brewer”, says Adam, “but we decided to make a full batch of Prospector just before the awards, and so we were able to fulfill the order.”
To date all Sparks’ commercial production has been brewed at Scott’s Brewing. “They deserve a big thank you!” Adam is now scaling up his recipe again to do a 6000L batch at 8 Wired.
And Eagle Brewing's Dave Gaughan, in Christchurch, says the win will be good publicity for Coalface Stout and the Eagle brewery. “It came at the right time, because buying out Raindogs Brewing last year allowed us to double our capacity and all the Coalface orders can be made in-house.
“The award will give us exposure into places we haven’t been previously. It’s an endorsement for us because we do all our own stuff. We do our own recipes, all the brewing, everything. The award is a pat on the back for our work and it makes it all worthwhile.”
Dave says Eagle's plans for growth are on-going. He'll be exhibiting at Melbourne's GABS festival next month and wants to get into exporting.