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Lion crowned New Zealand’s best brewery for 2015

Lion crowned New Zealand’s best brewery for 2015

Lion Breweries has been named New Zealand’s Champion Brewery at the 2015 Brewers’ Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards.

Lion beat 93 other New Zealand breweries to be crowned New Zealand’s best brewery at the gala awards ceremony in Auckland last night, also heading off six international breweries.

Lion national operations director Paul Woods said the Gladfield Malt Champion Brewery award capped a big year for Lion.

“It’s a huge honour to be named New Zealand’s Champion Brewery. It’s the best possible recognition any brewery can get, large or small.

“We’ve enjoyed a good deal of success with our growing range of beers. There’s more variety and styles than ever before. That’s great for consumers and for the New Zealand brewing industry as a whole.

“For all brewers the secret to success is passion, hard work and dedication to the task. We still enjoy brewing now as much as we ever have and most brewers will feel exactly the same way.”

Lion produces and markets six of the country’s top 10 beer brands, including Speight’s, Steinlager and Mac’s, regional brands such as Waikato Draught and a growing range of craft and international beers including Emerson’s, Corona, Stella Artois and Guinness.

Earlier this year, Lion’s Speight’s 5 Malt Old Dark was named Best Amber/Dark Ale at the world-renowned Australian International Beer Awards.

In addition to being named Champion Brewery, Lion also won the International Lager and Fruit or Flavoured categories for its Beck’s and Issac’s Berry Cider respectively. In total, Lion beers won 28 medals across 10 categories.

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The 14 beer category winners are:

Category (sponsor)BreweryBeer
International Lager styles (O-I)Lion (national)Beck’s
New Zealand Lager styles (Cryer Malt)Panhead Custom Ales (Wellington)Port Road Pilsner
British Ale styles (Leading Label Co.)Mike’s Organic Brewing (Taranaki)Organic Ale
European Ale styles (BeerNZ)Garage Project (Wellington)Tournesol
US Ale styles (Australian International Beer Awards)Bach Brewing (Auckland)Duskrider Red IPA
Pale Ale styles (Weyermann)Fork Brewing (Wellington)Godzone Beat
Strong Pale Ale styles (Red Kegs)Epic Brewing Company (Auckland)Armageddon
Stout and Porter styles (Kegstar)Raindogs Brewing Company (Christchurch)Singularity Imperial Stout
Wheat and Other Grain styles (Beer and Brewer)Dominion Breweries (national)Black Dog - Blizzard
Flavoured & Aged Styles (Excel Digital)Good George Brewing (Hamilton)Blueberry Gose
Specialty, Experimental, Aged (Plant & Food Research)Garage Project (Wellington)Wabi Sabi
Cider and Perry styles (Profruit)Forbidden Brewing Company (Auckland)Simply Apple Cider
Fruit or Flavoured styles (Brewers Guild of New Zealand)Lion (national)Issac’s Berry Cider
Packaging (Jenkins Labels)McCashin’s Brewery (Nelson-Tasman)Stoke Amber 300ml 6 Pack

Brisbane-based Castlemaine Perkins was named NZ Hops Champion International Brewery, while DB’s Morton Coutts Trophy for Innovation or Achievement went to Gladfield Malt for for their development and expansion of New Zealand-based malting and specialty malting.

Steam Brewing was named ENPAC Champion Manufacturer while the Brewers Guild of New Zealand Media/Beer Writer of the Year award went to Fairfax's Jono Galuszka.

Brewers Guild chairman Bob King said the awards capped another vintage year for New Zealand brewing.

“Each year, more New Zealanders get into beer and cider brewing. And, each year, the task of judging at these awards becomes much harder.

“Whether it’s a one-man band or the larger more established breweries, New Zealand is enjoying a golden era in terms of the variety and quality of beers produced. That’s what the awards are about – recognising and celebrating excellence in our profession.”

Now in its ninth year, the Brewers Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards is an international competition, with entries from throughout New Zealand and the world. All beer entries were rated against a style guide for each category for its aroma, colour, bitterness, flavour and presentation. A beer’s overall balance of characteristics was judged by a panel comprising 25 national and internationally qualified judges.

A total of 59 gold, 159 silver and 243 bronze medals were awarded this year. Entries from Wellington breweries picked up 17 of the top trophies and gold medals awarded.

For more information, including a detailed list of all medallists, visit


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