Australian Cider Awards entries now open

25 Jul 2023

—  US Pommelier to guest judge —

National industry body Cider Australia today opened entries to the 2023 Australian Cider Awards which will be held in Melbourne in October.

Entrants will compete for accolades in 30 commercial classes with the expert judging panel to blind tastes hundreds of ciders, specialty ciders and apple and pear spirits in Australia’s largest cider competition.

President of Cider Australia and chair of the organising committee Warwick Billings said ciders that are not sold in Australia can enter for the first time this year as part of a three year trial, giving international producers the opportunity to test products in the Australian market.

“We are excited to announce this year’s guest judge, Darlene Hayes from the United States, a highly respected educator, judge and writer with a true passion for cider”, said Warwick.

“Darlene is a Certified Pommelier™ – a course of study akin to the Wine and Spirits Education Trust and the Court of Master Sommeliers but for cider rather than wine –bringing a well-rounded technical and international perspective to the judging table”.

Enter the 2023 Australian Cider Awards online via

Registrations close on Friday 22 September and the results will be announced on Thursday 26 October at a gala industry dinner in central Melbourne. Tickets will go on sale in August.


– Ends –

Key dates

Entries close

Fri 22 Sep 2023

Deliver entries

Mon 25 Sep – Fri 6 Oct 2023

Cider master class hosted by
Darlene Hayes

Sun 15 Oct 2023 (Melbourne, venue TBA)

Judging (closed to the public)

Mon 16 & Tue 17 Oct 2023 (William Angliss Institute, Melbourne)

Awards presentation dinner

Thu 26 Oct 2023 (Melbourne, venue TBA)

Media enquiries

Contact Cider Australia executive officer Jane Anderson on
0434 559 759 or or visit

About Cider Australia 

Cider Australia is an independent, not-for-profit organisation funded by cider businesses and sponsors, established in 2012. It aims to build a sustainable cider category by undertaking activities that improve the quality of ciders produced and marketed in Australia. The organisation represents the interests of the cider industry to policy makers, calling for regulations and policies that support a diverse and evolving cider industry, and runs the national cider conference AusCider and the Australian Cider Awards.

About the Awards

The 12th annual Australian Cider Awards will be held in October 2023. The Awards is the largest cider competition in Australia and is leading the standardisation and improvement of cider judging across Australia. Judging of the Awards will be held on 16 & 17 October 2023 at the William Angliss Institute in Melbourne. The panel comprises 7 full judges and 4 associates and brings expertise from across the alcoholic beverage industry.

Guest international judge – Darlene Hayes

Darlene Hayes, dipWEST and Certified Pommelier™, is a writer and educator living in Sonoma County, California. She’s been fascinated by apples and cider since she and her husband built a house next to a 100+ year old apple orchard. Ever curious, she has since been doing research, historical and otherwise, on numerous apple varieties and the ciders made from them. For the last six years Darlene has been working with the American Cider Association on their Certified Cider Professionals program developing content to educate beverage professionals and enthusiasts alike on the breadth and depth of what cider has to offer. She is a well-respected international cider judge and the editor of the cider and apple-themed zine, Malus as well as writing about cider and apples for a variety of publications and at Her book, Cider Cocktails–Another Bite of the Apple, was the first book on the modern exploration of using cider in cocktails.

Image below: Darlene Hayes, guest international judge at the 2023 Australian Cider Awards


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