The Global Impact Of The London Beer Competition
It certainly lifts the perception of the beer to prospective buyers in that they can have confidence they are purchasing a quality world-class product. - Pieter Langendijk, Chief Executive of the Amsterdam Brewboys
If you wanted evidence of the impact the London Beer Competition has had on the beer sector since it was first launched in 2008 then this story from Australia is a good place to start.
The Southern Highlands Brewing Company in New South Wales had been quite happy making beer to sell locally across its state. That’s until it went on an Australian trade delegation to Hong Kong and Singapore and its eyes were opened to the idea of building the company through exports.
[Image: Southern Highlands Brewery Company]
As the UK, and London, in particular, are seen as such an influential market to be in order to gain a reputation around the world, SHBC’s Ben Towmey thought the London Beer Competition would be a good place to put its beers to the test.
As he explained to his local paper, the Illwarra Mercury: "If we're going to build our exports need to get some international recognition. That's when we targeted the London Beer Competition."
[Image: Goodfather Porter]
The fact it received only one of eight gold medals given out overall in the competition was another boost as Twomey told his local paper the Illawarra Mercury: "Being one of eight golds from several hundred breweries from across 25 nations put it into context.”
"As soon as we won that award, we got knocked out of stock of our porter," he added Twomey. "There was four times the usual demand for it. So at the moment, we're out of stock.”
Pieter Langendijk, chief executive of the Amsterdam Brewboys, has also enjoyed the impact of winning a medal in the competition. As he explains: “It certainly lifts the perception of the beer to prospective buyers in that they can have confidence they are purchasing a quality world-class product.”
[Image: Amsterdam Brewboys]
Their story can be repeated time and again by other medal winners as the London Beer Competition has only taken three years to establish itself as one of the most important and influential beer events in the world.
One of the keys to its success is the quality and vigour of its judges. Whilst other more established global competitions are happy to hand out tens of gold medals to keep its entrants happy, they are more like gold dust in the London Beer Competition.
If you win one then you know you really are best in class in your category.
That’s why the London Beer Competition only uses professional trade judges who are either responsible for buying beer as part of their jobs or are highly respected as writers, consultants and educators. Individuals with the expertise to know how to assess, and identify the beers that truly stand out from the competition.
Judges that have worked with the London Beer Competition organisers to make the judging process as vigorous and as close to how beers are chosen to be listed in the best bars and retailers.
That means a judging process that assesses each beer for its quality, its value for money against the price being asked for it, and what it looks like - does the design and packaging live up to the expectations of what is in the bottle and how much it costs?
Mitch Adams, the beer buyer at Euroboozer, says “flavour and branding are both equally important when sourcing those stand out beers”.
This exacting approach has earned the respect of leading beer publications around the world.
Brewer World, India’s top online beer publications say the awards are the “world’s leading competition that judges quality alongside packaging and value”. In particular, it recognises its focus on craft beer and how it “continues to drive quality, packaging and value”.
Promotion through London Drinks Guide
Winners in the London Beer Competition in the future will have the added value of potentially being featured in the London Drinks Guide, which was launched this year as the first dedicated online consumer drinks platform aimed at promoting the best drinks available in the top bars, restaurants and pubs in the city. The website has been introduced by the Beverage Trade Network, the media drinks network behind the separate London Beer, Wine and Spirits Competitions. It has already established itself as the home for the latest news, views and insights on what is happening to instil the most influential showcase for beers and drinks around the world.
The ideal platform to also tell the behind the scenes stories of the breweries, distillers and producers behind the award-winning drinks featured in the London Competitions - and then which bars and pubs to go to drink them.
[Image: London Drinks Guide]
“We have listened to all the drinks producers we work with around the world and created a website that can help them promote and publicise the medals and awards they win in the London Competitions,” says events founder Sid Patel, and chief executive of the Beverage Trade Network.
“This is the first dedicated drinks platform focused on what is happening in the most exciting drinks capital in the world. It’s already proving to be a winning combination.”
Considering the impact it has made around the world it is hard to believe the London Beer Competition is only going into its fourth year, but Patel says it still has many other ideas and initiatives to introduce to help breweries and their supplier partners find the right outlets for their beers.
“The ‘networking’ aspect of what we do is arguably the most important. We do not see ourselves as simply running a beer or drinks competition, but working alongside everyone who enters to help them find the right markets and customers for their products.”