The Drink Easy Awards is back in 2021 and is looking to discover Australia’s best drinks and where to find them. The national awards show is ready to shake things up again and reward excellence in beverage creation.
The awards will feature a national panel of judges that will converge in Adelaide to taste and judge. Drink Easy will once again discover Australia’s best Wine, Spirits, Beer + Cider and Non-Alcoholics alongside some exciting new categories.
Drink Easy was created by food and drink identities Duncan Welgemoed (Africola), Mike Bennie (P+V Merchants) and Tamrah Petruzzelli (Super Assembly).
The aim of Drink Easy is to set a new benchmark in Australian drinks. Last year’s successful inaugural season saw a wild ale from NSW, Wildflower’s St Phoebe, crowned Australia’s best drink over a Victorian skin contact pinot gris from Oakridge Wines and a Tasmanian brandy from Sullivans Cove. Drink Easy simply rewards the best of the best.
The awards give consumers a relevant and accessible collection of results in lists – no more medals, which have reached critical mass and finding increasing irrelevance, and no scores. Drink Easy’s lists represent ‘best ofs’ in various categories, elevating collections of drinks that represent not only the notion of ‘high quality’, but the development and creativity found within their community.
Submissions are now open for the 2021 awards and includes a brand-new category: Alternative Drinks, which includes beverages such as hard seltzer, alcoholic kombucha and sake.
“Drink Easy is all about reflecting how and what people drink,” says Tamrah. “We were one of the first drinks shows to include a Non-Alcoholic stream in 2019 and we’re super pumped to introduce Alternative Drinks for the 2021 season. Not only does Alternative Drinks reflect a burgeoning section of the market it also contains some seriously fun and exciting drinks, which we can’t wait to taste, judge and showcase.”
This year, Drink Easy features a mix of new and returning head judges, with Liam Pereira and Emma Farrelly back once again to lead the Beer + Cider and Wine sections respectively with Fred Siggins (ex-Sullivans Cove) of Pith and Vinegar leading the Spirits judging and Thurman Wise (Head of Innovation at CAPI) on board to head up Non-Alcoholics, while Mark Reginato (Hellbound) is Chief Steward.
2021 judges include winemaker Mac Forbes, Topher Boehm (Wildflower), Harriet Leigh (Archie Rose Distilling Co), journalist Nick Ryan, Quay’s Shanteh Wong, Kathleen Davis (Nip of Courage) and Clinton Schultz (SOBAH Beverages).
“Drink Easy was the first and most significant drinks awards to combine the varied streams of wine, beer, spirits and non-alcoholic drinks – the impact was immediate, drawing gaze for consumer cut-through, relevancy and potency of results, diversity of judges, and a general feel of change and evolution in the often-staid landscape of show judging,” says Mike Bennie.
“Drink Easy signifies a cultural change in reporting on drinks, giving a permanent resource for results while encouraging a breadth of entries that more accurately describes the drinking landscape of Australia,” he continues. “It’s an exciting, different, high water mark for the appreciation of drinks in Australia.”
Submissions are open until Friday, April 30, 2021 with judging taking place from Wednesday, May 12 to Friday, May 14 in Adelaide, and the awards party to be held in July 2021.
Drink Easy Dates
SUBMISSIONS OPEN: Now
SUBMISSIONS CLOSE: Friday, April 30, 2021
JUDGING: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 to Friday, May 14, 2021
AWARDS PARTY: July 2021
Drink Easy Awards
The full list of judges is below.
Head Judge: Emma Farrelly - State Buildings
Brendan Carter - Ochre Nation
Charlotte Hardy - Charlotte Dalton Wines
Gill Gordon Smith - Fall From Grace
Jim Chatto - Chatto Wines
John Carty - South Australian Museum
Mac Forbes - Mac Forbes Wines
Pip Anderson - MONA
Ned Goodwin - Wine Presenter
Penny Grant - Shaw & Smith
Nick Ryan - Journalist
Shanteh Wong - Quay
Sue Bell - Bellwether Wines
Kate Laurie - Deviation Road
Head Judge: Fred Siggins - Pith & Vinegar
Kathleen Davies - Nip of Courage (woo!)
Ollie Margan - Maybe Mae
Harriet Leigh - Archie Rose Distillery
Sharon Romeo - Fino
Tim Boast - Never Never Distilling Co
Brendan Carter - Unico Zelo
Beer + Cider Judges
Head Judge: Liam Pereira - Batch Brewing Co
Topher Boehm - Wildflower Brewing & Blending
Tiffany Waldron - Mighty Craft
Will Ziebell - The Crafty Pint
Marc Huber - Mismatch Brewing Co
Head Judge: Thurman Wise - CAPI
Greta Wholstadt - Sommelier
Clinton Schultz - SOBAH Beverages
Damian Foo - Scull
Edward Weichet - Hobart Brewing Company