Finalists in the third annual Scottish Beer Awards have been announced, with 36 breweries and 192 beers all brewed in Scotland progressing to the finals of the national competition.
The awards cover both taste and business performance, and were judged last week by an experienced judging panel consisting of some of Scotland’s foremost brewing and beer experts.
Of the finalists, Edinburgh-based Stewart Brewing leads the race, with 16 beers reaching the finals in the taste categories. BrewDog, the Innis & Gunn Brewing Company and Tempest Brewing Co are next with 12 beers each, while Cromarty Brewing, the rural brewery based on the Black Isle, and Fierce Beer from Aberdeen each have 10 beers in the finals.
Five breweries will fight it out for the ultimate award, the Scottish Brewery of the Year, which will be presented by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers: Eden Mill, Edinburgh Beer Factory, Fierce Beer, Stewart Brewing and The Innis & Gunn Brewing Company.
Nearly 300 Scottish beers were tasted by 25 judges and were marked according to a range of tasting standards, managed by the international sensory management consultancy, Cara Technology.
In addition, 84 written entries covering breweries’ business performance in areas including marketing, innovation and product development, were debated in a session which was chaired by former S&N technical and quality director, Hilary Jones.
In the business classes, a new category has been created for emerging brewer of the year, sponsored by ALDI, to recognise promise and potential in newly-qualified brewers. There are three finalists in the category, from The Innis & Gunn Brewing Company, Redcastle Brewery and Merchant City Brewing Co.
Finalists are now being sent a digital marketing package to enable branding of finalist beers to take place. The finalists will also receive branding support in the aisles of ALDI supermarkets in Scotland.