Australia's top suppliers will be honoured at the 2018 Australian Drinks Awards on September 13.
Over the past six years, the awards have grown to become the premier event for honouring achievement and innovation in the Australian drinks industry.
Last year, the Supplier of the Year award went to joint winners Casella Family Brands and Asahi Premium Beverages.
Asahi Chief Commercial Officer Scott Hadley told Drinks Trade that the win was particularly sweet for the company.
"Winning the Supplier of the Year award was the culmination of five years of hard work for the team," he said. "From where our business came from - from private equity to ownership by Asahi - we’ve worked hard to increase our professionalism, the capability of the team, the way we interact with our customers, consumers and the industry as a whole, and we’re very proud as an organisation to win the award.
"We like to think that we have the best team in the industry. Our team is passionate, dedicated and goes above and beyond, and we feel that gives us an edge in a competitive environment. We have some strong competitors, but we feel that our people are the difference for our business."
This year, the Supplier category has been expanded to include Supplier of the Year, the Supply Chain Partnership Award and Most Improved Supplier of the Year.
The winners will be determined by Advantage Australia’s benchmark surveys of on and off-premise retailers, which involved hundreds of participants at all levels of seniority and with all supplier-facing functions with every major retailer in the liquor industry.
“It’s very exciting, after months of research, to finally reach the week that The Drinks Association and Advantage will announce the winners of this year’s Australian Drinks Awards," said Steve Andrews, General Manager VIC/QLD/SA Advantage.
"In addition to the coveted Supplier of the Year award, it will be fascinating to see who will be the first-ever suppliers to be awarded the two new awards this year, Most Improved Supplier and Supply Chain Partnership.
"Whoever is recognised with these awards, we are sure to have a great night of celebration with the winners at the industry’s premier event. We’re really looking forward to enjoying a fantastic evening with you all there on Thursday.”
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."