Australian brewers – and their design teams – are celebrating after a big week of award competition success in the States. Three local breweries secured medals at the prestigious World Beer Cup this morning, while others were named best in the world in their categories at the international Craft Beer Marketing Awards.
At the World Beer Cup in America, which brings the 2022 Craft Brewers Conference in Minneapolis to a close, Stone & Wood took out silver for their Green Coast Lager, while Melbourne’s Urban Alley and Northern Beaches-based Bucketty’s Brewing both won bronze medals for their Slapshot Pale Ale and Bucketty's Pale Ale No. 2 respectively.
And in the Craft Beer Marketing Awards held earlier in the week, Sydney Brewery, KAIJU!, Burleigh Brewing and Craft Instinct's work on Blackman's Brewery's The Barrel Farm series all claimed Global Crushies – the highest level of trophy handed out at the awards.
Bucketty's co-founder Nick McDonald said he and the team watched the stream of the awards from their brewery venue, and that he’s already planning a trip to the States for the next World Beer Cup.
"We're super-proud," he told The Crafty Pint. "Tony and the rest of the brewing guys were jumping around this morning. I think [head brewer] Tony might have shed a little tear!"
It's understandable as the World Beer Cup is regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious beer awards – often referred to as the Olympics of Beer, with medals only being awarded for first, second and third place in each category. And, as Nick points out, their beers were sent in cans at ambient temperature across the Pacific to compete against fresher beers from American brewers.
"It's a great endorsement of the beers the guys are brewing. It's awesome," he said, with the achievement only heightened by the fact Bucketty's are in just their second year of existence.
The win comes on the back of a strong bounce-back for the brewery after a challenging 2021, when they spent lengthy periods with their venue closed due to Sydney’s lockdowns.
"Things are really good," he says. "The taproom is really busy – we regularly have 200 people inside on weekends, with another 50 lined up outside waiting to get it. COVID isn't even a thing now.
"We're having trouble keeping up in terms of building the team, and that's without selling massive amounts in pack. We made the decision not to sell through Coles or Woolies and to have a point of difference by supporting local, selling through independent bottleshops. And we're selling serious amounts through the taproom."
Earlier in the week, there was also a really strong showing from the Aussie contingent at the Craft Beer Marketing Awards. They launched in 2019 and include a range of categories, such as best Best Can Design, Best Brewery Rebrand and Best Original Video.
KAIJU! won a Global Crushie for their KRUSHMAN! utility belt as part of the Best Merchandise category. Queensland's Burleigh Brewing's two Global Crushies came as a result of their website design and a video made for their Sublime Mexican Lager, while a brand video called This Is Your Beer also received a Platinum award.
Brewery co-founder and CEO Peta Fielding was in America with other members of the Gold Coast brewery team so was able to collect the award in person, and said in a statement that it was "humbling" to see the Burleigh brand recognised on the world stage.
"I’m so proud of our marketing team," she said. "Most of our brand and marketing work is created entirely in-house. Shout out to The Edit Suite videography and Borne website design, both Burleigh Heads based companies, for their brilliance and contribution in bringing our creative visions to life for these awards."
Sydney Brewery claimed their gong on the back of their rebrand with Boldinc last year, while the brewery also took out a Platinum spot under the Best Brand Identity/Unique Logo Design category. The craft booze-dedicated brand design agency Craft Instinct [full disclosure: they've been The Crafty Pint's designers for years] beat all-comers with their work on The Barrel Farm series.
Craft Instinct founder Jessie Jungalwalla told The Crafty Pint she'd been watching the stream and had mistakenly thought the winners had been announced in the category they'd entered. So she switched off, only to receive an email later telling her they'd won the highest award going.
"It was a bit of a shock because it was the first awards we'd entered ourselves," she says. "We did well in the GABS Can Design Awards, but that was the breweries that entered, so that in itself was exciting because we wrote the application.
"There's a lot of thought behind the Barrel Farm beer labels, as when Jess Blackman and I sat down a few years ago, we talked about the journey the beer takes in the barrel, and how that could be expressed."
As a result, look closely at the labels and you’ll find subtle touches, little "Easter eggs" there – someone picking apples, someone surfing, someone going for a swim – the sort of touches Jessie believes will have appealed to the designers judging the awards.
"It feels really nice to be recognised," she says, not least due to the quality of other entries in the category, both the other Australians that received awards, and some high profile US outfits.
“It was really mind-blowing to have these American agencies that have inspired Craft Instinct, and have had a huge impact on how we run our business. To be alongside them, and come on top, is a bit of a jaw-dropper. We were just stoked."
On the back of their clutch of Crushies, most awarded for their Sidewinder no-lo alcohol brand, Brick Lane marketing director Tasha Harp Kennealy said: “A great beer experience goes well beyond the beer inside the can. At Brick Lane, we pride ourselves on quality, inclusivity, innovation and meeting the ever-changing consumer needs and wants.
"We are all very proud to be recognised across such a breadth and depth categories.”
A total of 25 Crushies were secured by Australian breweries and agencies across all categories.
Australia Award Winners
World Beer Cup
Stone & Wood Brewing - Green Coast Lager
- Kellerbier or Zwickelbier – Silver
Bucketty's Brewing Co - Bucketty's Pale Ale No. 2
- Session Beer – Bronze
Urban Alley Brewery - Slapshot
- Australian-Style Pale Ale – Bronze
Craft Beer Marketing Awards
Brick Lane & Sidewinder (3 Gold, 2 Platinum)
- Platinum Crushie: Best Brand Identity / Beer Release Calendars
- Platinum Crushie: Best Craft Industry Campaign / Human Rights and Cause Related
- Platinum Crushie: Brick Lane Brewing Co. - Pink Boots Brew Day hosted by Brick Lane Brewing Community
- Platinum Crushie: Best Brand Identity / Best All Around Marketing Story - Logo, Merch, Packaging, Website (for Sidewinder)
- Platinum Crushie: Beer Marketing Wild Cards / Best Use of Retro Branding for Sidewinder)
- Gold Crushie: Best Brand Identity / Unique Logo Design (for Sidewinder)
- Gold Crushie: Best Merchandise Design / Most Creative Line (for Sidewinder)
- Gold Crushie: Best Can Design / Best Beer Series (for Sidewinder)
- Gold Crushie: Best Can Design / Best Beer Series (for Trilogy Of Fear)
- Platinum & Global Crushies: Best Website Design / Best Design
- Platinum Crushie: Best Original Video / Storytelling
- Platinum & Global Crushies: The Barrel Farm label series - for Blackman's Brewery
Dollar Bill Brewing
- Gold Crushie: Best Merchandise Design / Most Creative Line (for Rare Oak Society 2021)
- Platinum & Global Crushies: Best Merchandise Design / Most Creative Line - KRUSHMAN! UTILITY BELT
- Gold Crushie: Best Can Design / 8-15oz (237 444ml)
Little Bang Brewing
- Platinum Crushie: Best Can Design / 8-15oz (237 444ml)
Sydney Brewery & Bold Inc
- Platinum & Global Crushies: Beer Marketing Wild Cards / Best Brewery Rebrand
- Platinum Crushie: Best Brand Identity / Unique Logo Design
Wayward Brewing Co
- Platinum Crushie: Best Can Design / Best Beer Series
- Platinum Crushie: Best Can or Bottle Design / Hard Seltzer (all sizes)
You can sill the full list of global Craft Beer Marketing Awards winners here.