Beer can finalists announced

Finalists for the 2016 Indie Beer Can Festival have been announced. After two rounds of judging, including a blind taste test, a panel of independent, expert judges have whittled 131 beers down to 13 finalists. All will be showcased at an exclusive industry festival final in May where the winners will also be announced.

Of the 13 finalists, 9 have yet to be sold in cans.  The can makers will arrange for those beers to be canned through mobile canning line, WeCan Solutions, in a trial run as a part of the prize for being finalists. Professional design teams will collaborate with the brewers to create brand designs to appear on their cans at the festival final.

A first round of judging was completed in December based on brewers explaining why they wanted to appear in the unique canned beer festival and gave tasting notes for their beer. 34 were shortlisted by the judges to the semi final where a panel, consisting of Lidl’s head of beers, wines and spirits at Lidl UK, Ben Hulme; beer expert and author, Adrian Tierney-Jones; and beer sommelier, Annabel Smith, blind tasted each beer. Judging was overseen by chairman of the panel, Martin Constable of the Can Makers.

Annabel Smith, commented: “Ben, Adrian and I had our work cut out for us during the first stages of judging. We read about and tasted a wonderful range of brews, many of which we would have loved to have experienced again. Our focus was on those where the appearance, pour, taste and aroma best came together to convince us that we were experiencing a well thought out beer, worthy of a place in the final.”

Ben Hulme, added: “This competition evidences just how far the independent brewing industry in the UK has come. There were some incredible, complex flavours, many we couldn’t have hoped to have experienced a few years ago. But the judging wasn’t just about taste of the beer, we were particularly impressed with those brewers that understood the benefits of the can for their brand.”

As well as the potential to be category winners, and to secure the title ‘Best in Show’, all finalists are also eligible for the competition’s ‘Best Design’ award, a stand alone category which will be judged by Sean Thomas, creative director at lead design agency, jkr and Claudio Vecchio, creative partner at Midday. With 27 years of experience, between the two of them they have influenced the design of brands including Staropramen and Adnams.

Tony Jerome, director of SIBA, explained: “It has been wonderful, for a second time, to see so many SIBA members entering this competition and making the final. We recognise the important role that canning will play in the future of independent brewing in the UK. The Indie Beer Can Festival represents the future for many independent brewers; it’s a significant event and we are delighted to see the nation’s rising brewers embracing it, and the can.”

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