Expect some exciting moments when the 2018 Australian Drinks Awards winners are revealed in 10 days’ time.
Over the past six years, the awards have grown to become the premier event for honouring achievement and innovation in the Australian drinks industry.
This year, the top 200 brands were automatically entered in the brand awards, which include Fan Favourite; Emerging Brand of the Year and Most Distinctive Brand. All three categories celebrate success in beer, cider, wine, spirits and RTD.
And the result is an exciting mix of old and new, well-established and bravely innovative, and big and small players.
"We guarantee the envelope openings will have everyone on the edge of their seats," said The Drinks Association CEO Georgia Lennon. "And the winners will have the whole room buzzing."
The Drinks Association has also expanded the supplier awards and added a Contribution to Industry category, to align with the industry’s focus on diversity, inclusion and social responsibility.
The Supplier category has also been expanded to include Supplier of the Year, the Supply Chain Partnership Award and Most Improved Supplier of the Year.
There's also a new venue and host for the awards: comedian, writer and maths whiz Adam Spencer will entertain attendees at the Ivy Ballroom, in Sydney CBD.
"We chose the Ivy because it’s a more intimate location for the awards and mirrors the personality of our industry," explained Lennon. "It’s an iconic venue for our award recipients to celebrate their achievement and has been well received by the industry, with tickets selling out within weeks of going on sale.
"I can’t wait to celebrate all the great things our industry is doing. Aside from their commercial successes, drinks companies have been doing so much for both their people and, more broadly, in the area of corporate social responsibility."
Award sponsors have echoed Lennon's excitement.
Aon is sponsoring the Gender Equity Award. Channel & Market Development head Simon Wolnizer said: "We are always excited to come and celebrate the achievements of the Drinks industry each year, however, this year in particular represents the start of new Contribution to Industry award categories that we are particularly passionate about.
"We can’t wait to find out who the winners are and learn from their industry leading ways."
Coles Liquor sponsored the Inclusive & Diverse Workplace Award. Cathi Scarce, Acting Director, Coles Liquor , said: "I am so excited to be celebrating with the Drinks Industry and all the award winners at the awards on September 13.
"This is a time when the industry shines the light on its best and brightest and the inclusion of the new awards only adds even more to what is a fabulous and exciting event."
Endeavour Drinks Group is sponsoring the Corporate Social Responsibility Award. Michael Jackson, Director - Merchandising, Marketing & Customer Insights, said: "This will be my 4th awards and it's always a great night to talk across businesses and categories, it's great for all involved and great for all the hard work that does go on every year in the drinks industry to be recognised."
Mainfreight is sponsoring the Fan Favourite Award. Brad Greer, National Business Development Manager, said: "Being able to witness the exhilaration shown by all the recipients that win awards during the night is an exciting and humbling experience.
"With such a close community across The Drinks Association, being able to say hello to friends and industry partners within the relaxed environment of the 'drinks industry awards' is always enjoyable and is now an important date on our team's diary."
Manildra Group is sponsoring Emerging Brand of the Year. Product Manager Debbie Forster said: "Manildra Group is delighted to celebrate achievements and innovation with many of our customers and the wider industry at this premier event. We’re proud to be able to support the event by recognising brands that sets the drink standard globally for purity, excellence and innovation."
Kegstar is sponsoring the Supply Chain Partnership Award. Nick Boots, Kegstar General Manager Australia & New Zealand, said: "The Kegstar team and I are very much looking forward to the Australian Drinks Awards, mixing with our peers and celebrating success with the winners."
BevChain is sponsoring the Most Distinctive Brand of the Year Award. Josh Morris, Group Manager – Strategy & Corporate Development, said: "The BevChain team is excited, as always, to ditch the high-vis for the night to get out and celebrate with the industry.
"Let’s be honest, celebrating is an area the drinks businesses excel at, so we’re always up for being part of that!"