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Northern Region Shines in Brewers Guild Awards

Northern region shines in Brewers Guild Awards

Brewers from Bream Bay to Birkenhead are counting their winnings after the 2017 Brewers Guild Awards.

The Awards were announced in Christchurch last weekend, after beer judges assessed nearly 1000 beers and ciders from 112 breweries.

A cluster of Northland/North Auckland brewers did very well this year, demonstrating the ongoing growth of craft brewing in the Northern region.

Leading the group is Matakana’s Sawmill Brewery, with two Best in Class trophies and five gold medals. This small brewery relocated from Leigh in 2016, to new premises in Matakana incorporating a brewpub. Beer writer Jules van Costello describes Sawmill’s beers as “among the most elegant and refined in the country”, and it appears the Guild judges agreed.

Further north, McLeod’s Brewery in Waipu brings home one trophy and four gold medals. McLeod’s brewer Jason Bathgate has been bringing some of his native Vermont styles to New Zealand, but it was a more traditional pilsner that scored the trophy.

Liberty Brewing in Helensville is on a roll with awards this year. At the Brewers Guild Awards it collected 17 medals, plus a trophy for Prohibition imperial porter.

Warkworth’s 8 Wired Brewery returned north with a total of 19 medals, including two golds. Deep Creek Brewing brought nine medals home to Silverdale, and Birkenhead Brewing Co claimed four.

“The north-of-the-Bridge area has really come of age as a brewing hub this year,” says Brewers Guild chair Jonathan Alve. “A few years back Wellington and Nelson were contesting the craft beer crown, but this group of results shows the Northern region has developed into a Craft Beer Coast.”

“The number of breweries operating in New Zealand has doubled since 2012, and this year’s results show Northern breweries are growing in quality as well as in numbers.”

“The Brewers Guild Awards are easily the biggest and most-respected beer competition run in New Zealand. We have international beer judges working to the highest standards, and brewers are very keen to win recognition from their peers,” Jonathan Alve says.

Northern region results summary:

Sawmill Brewery, Matakana

• 2 Trophies – Sawmill Baltic Porter, Sawmill/Good George Weizenbock

• 5 Gold Medals

• 3 Silver Medals

• 2 Bronze Medals

McLeod’s Brewery, Waipu

• 1 Trophy – Longboarder pilsner

• 4 Gold Medals

• 4 Bronze Medals

Liberty Brewing Co., Helensville

• 1 Trophy – Prohibition imperial porter

• 2 Gold Medals

• 8 Silver Medals

• 7 Bronze Medals

8 Wired Brewery, Warkworth

• 2 Gold Medals

• 8 Silver Medals

• 9 Bronze Medals

Deep Creek Brewing Co., Silverdale

• 2 Gold Medals

• 3 Silver Medals

• 4 Bronze Medals

Birkenhead Brewing Co., Birkenhead

• 2 Gold Medals

• 1 Silver Medal

• 1 Bronze Medal

To see the full results from the 2017 Brewers Guild of New Zealand awards go to -


About the Brewers Guild of New Zealand

The Brewers Guild is a membership-based organisation established to grow the value and quality of New Zealand’s $2.2 billion beer sector.

It operates as a collective voice for more than 80 commercial brewers in New Zealand. The Guild works with Government on legal, licensing, fiscal and excise issues. It delivers education programmes to its members and helps promote the value of the sector to the public.

The Guild organises New Zealand’s most prestigious annual beer awards, the Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards.

For more information, including the full results of the 2017 Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards, visit -

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