MELBOURNE, Australia, Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) has kicked off its annual search for the world's best beers, with UK brewers encouraged to enter the second largest beer competition of its kind, joining the global battle for beer supremacy.
The AIBA offer UK exhibitors the chance to test their skills against the best brewers in the world. In 2009, a record 1,140 entries were received including 22 entries from UK based brewers, a 36 percent increase on 2008.
Figures from the 2009 Awards reflect some of the biggest trends in the UK beer market, notably the rise of smaller breweries and the increasing popularity of ales, with more than half of entries submitted in the ale category.
"Representative of local market trends, results from the 2009 AIBA show a continued increase in the range and variety of beers available, particularly from small and craft brewers," said Dr George Philliskirk, 2009 AIBA Judge and Director, UK Beer Academy.
According to figures from the Campaign for Real Ale, the small breweries market in the UK continues to boom, with 71 new outlets opening in the last year to take the total to over 700. This growth in numbers has matched a similar growth in sales, with members of the UK's Society of Independent Brewers reporting a 20 per cent increase in 2008 sales*.
"Easily of an equal standard to similar competitions in the UK and US, the AIBA provide consumers and industry with a benchmark of brewing excellence, thanks to the inclusion of a broad representative of beers from around the world, and a high standard of excellence across the board," said Mr. Anthony Duckworth, 2004 AIBA judge and former Bass North Ltd Director (UK).
The annual AIBA judge beers in a variety of classes. In addition to awarding the coveted gold, silver and bronze medals in each class, judges award 16 prestigious Championship Trophies, including a new Champion Gluten Free Beer Trophy.
Presented annually by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria and the University of Ballarat, the event will culminate in a gala awards presentation in Melbourne, Australia on Thursday, 20 May 2010.
Entries close 29 January 2010. For details visit www.beerawards.com.
* UK: JD Wetherspoon hails real ale revival, 11 September 2009
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SOURCE Australian International Beer Awards