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Drink Easy is back!

Monday Dec 7th, 2020
Posted by David Knight

Raise a glass for the return of the Drink Easy Awards, as the radical beverage show is back in 2021 to discover Australia’s best drinks and where to find them.

Featuring a national panel of judges that will converge in Adelaide to taste and judge, Drink Easy will once again discover Australia’s best Wine, Spirits, Beer + Cider and Non-Alcoholics alongside some exciting new categories.  

Created by food and drink identities Duncan Welgemoed (Africola), Mike Bennie (P+V Merchants) and Tamrah Petruzzelli (Super Assembly), the radical awards show is ready to shake things up again and simply reward excellence in beverage creation.

The aim of Drink Easy is to set a new benchmark in Australia drinks. Last year’s successful inaugural season saw a wild ale from NSW, Wildflower’s St Phoebe, crowned Australia’s best drink over a Victorian skin contact pinot gris from Oakridge Wines and a Tasmanian brandy from Sullivan’s Cove. Drink Easy simply rewards the best of the best. 

The awards give consumers a relevant and accessible collection of results in lists – no more medals, which have reached critical mass and finding increasing irrelevance, and no scores.

Drink Easy’s lists represent ‘best ofs’ in various categories, elevating collections of drinks that represent not only the notion of ‘high quality’, but the development and creativity found within their community. 

Submissions are now open for the 2021 awards and includes a brand new category: Alternative Drinks, which includes beverages such as hard seltzer, alcoholic kombucha and sake.   

“Drink Easy is all about reflecting how and what people drink,” says Tamrah. “We were one of the first drinks shows to include a Non-Alcoholic section in 2019 and we’re super pumped to introduce Alternative Drinks for the 2021 season. Not only does Alternative Drinks reflect a burgeoning section of the market it also contains some seriously fun and exciting drinks, which we can’t wait to taste, judge and showcase.”

This year, Drink Easy features a mix of old and new head judges, with Liam Pereira and Emma Farrelly back once again to lead the Beer + Cider and Wine sections respectively with Fred Siggins of Pith and Vinegar (formally Sullivan’s Cove) leading the Spirits judging and Thurman Wise, Head of Innovation at Capi, on board to head up Non Alcoholics.

“Drink Easy was the first and most significant drinks awards to combine the varied streams of wine, beer, spirits and non-alcoholic drinks – the impact was immediate, drawing gaze for consumer cut-through, relevancy and potency of results, diversity of judges, and a general feel of change and evolution in the often staid landscape of show judging,” says Mike.

“Drink Easy signifies a cultural change in reporting on drinks, giving a permanent resource for results while encouraging a breadth of entries that more accurately describes the drinking landscape of Australia. It’s an exciting, different, high water mark for the appreciation of drinks in Australia.”

“I'm excited about heading up the spirits panel for Drink Easy this year because we need more competitions that judge drinks based on quality and enjoyability rather than arbitrary and outdated definitions,” says Fred. “Yes, it's important that all products can be understood by consumers and fit within recognisable styles, but that's for makers and marketing people to decide, not competition judges. As a drinker, I just want to know what tastes good! In terms of spirits in particular, there's so much innovation happening in the Australian distilling industry and we want to be able to highlight and reward that creativity, and direct Australian drinkers to the best and most fun products out there.”

“Drink Easy is one of the most important beverage platforms around and certainly the most interesting and exciting award programs across food and drink,” says Thurman. “The beauty is that it doesn’t only champion the many great producers who work so hard to make beautiful products with passion and integrity, but it also serves to educate people far and wide about the people and brands making some of the best drinks right here in Australia. This all being done whilst being an independent led and run award program that judges products and producers on merit, quality and craftsmanship and not about sponsorship or judging based on a strict, antiquated set of rules.

“It is especially important for us in the non-alcohol space. We have often been cast to the shadows as ‘just the mixer’, but with Drink Easy the products we love to make are featured alongside great spirits, beers, cider and wine and we are thrilled to show Australia the exciting innovations and products that we believe are some of the best in the business.”

 “Drink Easy is an incredibly significant program within the landscape of Australian beverages,” says Emma. “To be able to sidestep from more traditional judging practises and approach wine in a more holistic manner is not only necessary, but vital to support the strength, culture and diversity of the Australian wine industry.”