The Ellon-based brewer fought off four others for the title after persuading the panel of its success in launching a US-based brewery and also completing a deal to sell off 22% of the business to a private equity house.
The winners in 11 taste categories were eagerly anticipated, with 266 beers tasted blind by a large, experienced judging panel.
Tempest Brewing Co, from Tweedbank in the Scottish Borders, stormed the taste categories again this year, claiming five medals. Three gold medals in the amplified, lager and IPA categories and silver medal positions in best amplified beer and best IPA.
Innis & Gunn scored both gold and silver medal positions in best barrel aged beer for I & G Rum Finish and I & G Original respectively. They also collected awards in the business categories, winning excellence in marketing and exporter of the year.
Stewart Brewing picked up gold for They’re Coming to Get Rhu Barbara in the new sours category, while its co-founder, Steve Stewart, was also awarded master brewer of the year. Spey Valley Brewery received a gold medal in best British style ale for David’s Not So Bitter.
Aberdeen’s Fierce Beer, which launched in 2016, was awarded breakthrough brewery of the year and also picked up the gold medal in best porter for Café Racer, which went on to win the judges’ prize for beer of the year. Their neighbours and mentors, BrewDog, collected two silver medals for Elvis Juice and Jet-Black Heart.
There was unanimous support and a standing ovation when one of the industry’s legends, Professor Sir Geoff Palmer OBE, collected the lifetime achievement award, presented by his former student, Dr Dawn Maskell, of Heriot Watt University.
Hilary Jones, chair of the judging panel, said: “Whether breweries are large, small, independently owned or have attracted investment from elsewhere, the Scottish Beer Awards is for everyone brewing in Scotland. We unite in our congratulations of our winners and celebrate the success of the whole of Scottish brewing.
“I hope all our winners find future success with their medals and show the world how brilliant we are in Scotland at making great beer.”