The International Brewing & Cider Awards have a unique history and equally a dynamic connection to the modern and changing industries and market in which they are held . The Awards have maintained the highest operational standards throughout their history, encouraging innovation and diversity in beer and cider .The judges job is recognise and reward the best beers and ciders in the world and do so after careful consultation and arriving at consensus on the winners .
The International Brewing & Cider Awards are judged only by working professionals in brewing and cider making, reflecting current expertise in the tasting and commercial evaluation of beers and ciders going into the market.
The selection criteria for judges is a unique attribute of this competition. The judges are there to recognise and reward the quality and commercial worth of the beers and ciders entered whether they be large volume or special niche products of excellence .
Collectively, the experience of the judging panel covers a wide range of styles and markets from across the world. Judges’ affiliations are declared and samples managed to ensure that anonymity and integrity are maintained throughout the judging process.
Judging for Medals in these awards is by discussion and consensus, not by scoring or averaging .Then in the judging for a Trophy Beer or Cider a secret ballot vote of only the medal winners is undertaken .
Panel members are divided into teams which change for every session of judging. They are asked as a team, to assess and agree a shortlist of entries to put forward to the next round and a new panel . This process generates lively debate and it is enthusiastically embraced by the judges. Trophy winners can be judged three times by different panels during the competition .
Judges are always presented with a manageable number of beers or ciders to compare in any one session – the classes with larger entries have more panels judging them in the early rounds.
As the number of entries in contention in a class is reduced, so the size of the judging panel assessing them is increased. This culminates in the entire panel of judges selecting the Champion Trophy winner for each of the categories.
Each panel will assess and promote forward the best entries and eliminate the others, which have come through the earlier stages. In the latter stages samples can be analysed to ensure integrity of declared ABV for the class entered .
The uniquely selected judging panel focus on quality and commercial worth from a professional and market perspective rather than a written style definition. Thus entries can be style classics that fit traditional guidelines or variations on a style or real innovations which do not fit a current acknowledged style .
The consensus method used by the panels ensures that any differing individual views are explained and discussed with the entire panel engaged . Some judges may have more experience of a particular style being judged and may lead the discussion on a topic but all panel members will use their knowledge ,experience and judgement to contribute to the process and reach consensus on a final decision .
The Competition promotes the fact that every type of beer or cider in the world will find a place in one of its broad categories. The diverse experience of the international panel ensures that even the more unusual beers and ciders will not be beyond the knowledge and palate of some members.All entries are guaranteed of a rigourous tasting and discussion to fully assess the samples presented . Judging feedback comments are often provided to entrants . The Chairman of Judging briefs all panellists at the outset and asks them “to promote those entries on which they would be prepared to stake their future success” – a guiding principle of this unique competition.
Another unique feature of this Competition is that the judging categories are separated into Classes differentiated by alcoholic strength. These aspects collectively provide entrants with scope for diversity and innovation in the styles entered while keeping the competition in classes within ABV boundaries .
These attributes continue the tradition of integrity and professionalism in judging that has endured during the 125+ years of this Competition’s remarkable history, the longest running in the world.