The Australian Cider Awards was established in 2011 by CiderOz, led by cider apple expert David Pickering and producers James and Gail Kendell, as a way to encourage quality improvements and educate consumers about the diversity of cider.
The inaugural competition had close to 100 entries, and was judged by a panel of wine and beer experts in Orange, NSW. With 18 medals awarded, the competition proved an excellent opportunity for Australian producers to benchmark their products and learn about cider. Entries to the competition have grown steadily each year since.
In 2014, the organisation of the Awards was handed over to Cider Australia. A committee of volunteers now runs the competition in Melbourne, with the focus moving towards education, improving consistency in cider shows across Australia and building knowledge and experience in judging.
The Awards is leading the standardisation and improvement of cider judging across Australia:
- In 2015 we released a Style Guide tailored specifically to the Australian market that defines how products in each class should present in terms of aroma and flavour, appearance, mouthfeel and overall impression. An updated Cider Australia 2016-Styleguide [Official] was released in 2016. The Style Guide was developed in consultation with the prestigious Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP).
- Each year, we bring an international cider expert to Australia to join the judging panel, run technical seminars and add an international perspective to the proceedings. In past years we have been honoured to host Andrew Lea from the UK, Gary Awdey from the US, Malcolm Reeves from New Zealand and Claude Jolicoeur from Canada.
- We invest substantially in educating and training producers, judges and competition organisers, and share knowledge with regional cider shows across Australia. We are also developing best practice judging and organisational policies and protocols.