A Brief History of

The origins of this great beer competition go back to the nineteenth century:

  • 1888 – over 100 brewers entered two classes in a competitive exhibition of beers in The Agricultural Hall in Islington, London, alongside the Brewers’ Exhibition.

  •  From 1889 onwards, the ‘Beer Competitions’ formed a regular part of The Brewers’ Exhibition.

  • Gold Medal winners in 1910 inculded Theakstons of Masham, Dales of Cambridge, Masons of Maidstone, and Whitakers of Halifax.

  • War led to the Brewers Exhibition being cancelled from 1914 but, curiously, the Beer Competitions went ahead. The Competitions were then suspended until 1919, from then on growing in sophistication, but still a national competition only.

  • By 1930, 800 beers were entered, plus separate contests for mineral waters (of which there were 160) and a similar number of ciders.

  • The requirements for favourable conditions and the right judging ambience eventually led to the separation of the event from the exhibition, which was known as BREWEX, after the Second World War.

  • By the 1960s over 1,000 beers were being entered into the Competitions which were then known as the United Kingdom Bottled and Draught, European and Commonwealth Beer Competitions, so called because beers from these three areas of origin were not allowed to compete with each other.  Increasingly, the Competitions were becoming international, with the likes of Mauritius Breweries, Simond-Farsons-Cisk in Malta, and Dominion in New Zealand were taking the top lager Awards.

  • In 1983, the Competitions, then named the Brewing Industry International Awards, was moved to Burton upon Trent, drawing upon the skills, expertise and goodwill of the local brewers to help set up and organise the event.

  • In 2005, the competition was moved to Munich, alongside Drinktec, the global brewing exhibition and saw another increase in entries.   With the change in the brewing industry, the consumer and value chain it was decided to take a short “break” to ensure that the next competitions truly reflected the changing consumer landscape as well as developments within the brewing industry.
  • 2011 saw a return of the newly named International Brewing Awards, chaired by Bill Taylor, Chief Brewer of Lion Nathan. These were successfully held 9-11th February 2011.

  • 2013 saw the reincorporation of the International Cider Awards, with 2 cider categories.

  • The 2015 competition further developed cider categories, running a seperate cider competition alongside the beer competition.

  • 2017 and 2019 have seen further growth in beer and cider categories, reflecting the increased internationality of both products and innovation of styles. With 55%  of entries coming from outside the UK , the competitions are truly international.

We look forward to judging your beers and ciders!

To go back in time to the competitions in the 1930s –