Kiwi brewer Moa won bronze for one of its specialty beers at the prestigious Brewing Industry International Awards in Britain at the weekend.

Dubbed the brewing Oscars, 86 medals were awarded at the 2011 competition in Burton-upon-Trent, with Moa the only New Zealand beer to pick up a gong. Its Five Hop Barrel Reserve won bronze in the Special Feature Beer category.

“This is a terrific result for Moa,” says brewer Josh Scott.  “Since they began in London in 1886, these awards have been recognised as the premier brewing competition in the world.

“More than 750 beers were submitted for this year’s awards across nine categories and we’re delighted to be the only Kiwi brewery to pick up a medal. Unlike wine awards where more than one wine can win a ‘bronze standard’, medals are awarded to individual beers only.

“It’s a real honour as all the judges are practising brewers with years of expertise in the tasting and commercial evaluation of beers,” says Scott.

“Another unique feature of this competition is the judging categories are separated into classes defined primarily by alcoholic strength, which encourages diversity and innovation in beer styles.”

Moa’s national sales manager Gareth Hughes says, for the first time in the 125-year history of the awards, consumers were this year given the chance to taste the competing beers.

“The feedback Moa got from punters was sensational and we’re hopeful this could lead to new sales outlets in Britain.”

At the awards announcement in England, the chairman of the judging panel Bill Taylor, who’s chief brewer for Lion Nathan, said: “We couldn’t have asked for a better show of support for this competition.

“Entries outstripped the level of the last contest, judges from around the world freely gave their time and expertise and a raft of brewers and other industry organisations helped us with logistical challenge of staging the event in the new venue of the National Brewery Centre.”

The next competition will be held in the Brewery Centre in Burton-upon-Trent in 2013.

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