About Drink Easy
The Drink Easy Awards are a celebration of Australian drinks and the culture that surrounds brewing, distilling and fermenting. The aim of the awards is to bring together all streams of beverage creation in Australia and reward those at the apex of their craft. It is an egalitarian awards aimed at elevating collections of drinks that represent not only the notion of ‘high quality’ but the development and creativity found within their community.
The core aspiration of these awards is to educate a wide and inclusive community on what ‘drinks easy’ and where to find these drinks. The awards represent a new paradigm in their national scope, broad and diverse range of judges, relevant criteria for judging and results that are readily and permanently available as references to consumers. Key to the Drink Easy Awards is common sense, detailed reporting of results and a collection of drinks that represent the excellence and charisma of beverages available from Australian producers.
The Drink Easy Awards will include a series of national events, tastings and educational gatherings with creative occasions arising regularly through the year.
The Drink Easy Awards are proudly in partnership with Broadsheet Media. Broadsheet Media represents a creative and informative platform to present the results of the Drink Easy Awards, allowing a broad-reaching dissemination of awards and recommendations by the Drink Easy Awards judging groups.
From diverse backgrounds, including journalism, festival direction, creative consulting, marketing, media, restaurants and social justice, this potent trio have combined their skills and intent in an alliance that is working for betterment of the Australian cultural landscape. Each of the directors is working at the apex of their industries. The union here aims to create a new, relevant and potent dialogue about best of drinks in Australia.
Categories + Judges
The chief judges are dynamic leaders in the Australian drinks scene. They represent relevant and contemporary approaches to intelligence on drinks with approaches that are broad and engaged. They are all educators in their various fields, highly-regarded gate-keepers who work at the coalface of consumer consumption to create a new paradigm in judging beverages.
Beer + Cider
Beers and ciders will be judged on merit in glass - the typical style judging of technical beer shows is sidelined for paradigms of personality, deliciousness, versatility, interest and a balance between drinkability and complexity of beer and cider in glass. It is the aim of the awards to showcase and promote not only premium examples of high quality beer and cider, but imagination within this broad-reaching category.
Liam Pereira has worked in an impressive variety of beer-related roles over the years, most recently as co-owner of Dave’s Travel and Events. His job covers many facets – tour guide, beer educator and event organiser, with the last of those including the rather substantial task of running this year’s Sydney Beer Week. The most enticing thing about Liam is not the sheer amount of roles he’s inhabited, it’s the fact that, despite his experience and education – he’s a Certified Cicerone after all – he remains non-judgmental about a person’s beer tastes or knowledge.
Wine is to be assessed and judged in style categories where a celebration of inherent personality in glass will be championed. The vision is to look not only at drinkability but detail in wine, a breadth and depth of varietal and style expressions, a championing of not only highest quality wine but the diversity of wine and the potential of fermented grapes.
For over 18 years, Emma’s passion for the wine industry has produced award-winning wine lists across top venues in Perth. As Director of Wine for State Buildings, Emma’s invaluable insights enable her to curate unique wine lists for the award-winning restaurants at State Buildings. She has worked as a Sommelier, earning her award recognition and induction into the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne in 2013. With her finger firmly on the pulse of the wine industry, Emma was a judge for the Young Gun of Wine Awards and SA’s Hot 100 Wines. Awarded 2017 Sommelier of the Year at the WA Good Food Guide awards, she was recently awarded Sommelier of the year at the 2019 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant awards.
In the past decade Australian distilling has grown at a frenetic pace with a huge diversity of approaches and styles on market. The aim of spirit judging is to pursue both ‘best examples’ of established styles and to reward those experimenting and expanding the spirit category in Australia. The judging approach will look to interest, finesse and complexity from spirits entered into the awards.
In 2015, Griffin Blumer founded Poor Toms Gin distillery with his housemate. Since then, Poor Toms has become one of Australia’s most loved new gin brands. His interest in spirits and distilling is universal, and includes having co-distilled all the spit buckets from a wine festival into a brandy-style spirit, arguably a world first. Griffin has a deep and abiding thirst for knowledge and tasting distilled drinks - he is ambidextrous in his approach to the world of distillates, having a curious mind and palate. Before the life of distilling, Griffin was a gold miner, bartender and failed actor.
Increasingly important and to be celebrated in its own right, non-alcoholic beverages are presenting as a compelling array of products that offer those abstaining from alcohol or reducing intake, more serious alternatives in the drinks category. Alongside non-alcoholic beers and spirits, there are an increasing array of vital and vibrant products from dedicated producers, fermenters and creators of drinks worthy of putting on a pedestal.
Caitlyn Rees was born in a coastal town in Western Australia. Moving to Sydney in 2011, she developed a love for wine and beverages whilst working at the Darlinghurst wine bar Love, Tilly Devine. Caitlyn has worked with the wine teams in some of Sydney’s best restaurants including Momofuku Seiōbo, Cirrus Dining and Fred’s. In 2017, she received Gourmet Traveller Sommelier of the Year as well as the Hostplus Hospitality Scholarship - the latter of which saw her in world-renowned restaurants in Europe and North America. Caitlyn is currently the Wine Director of Mary’s Group.