Media: More than 100 breweries vie for awards in Nelson

KATY JONES

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Garage Project brewery founders from left, Jos Ruffell, Pete Gillespie, and Ian Gillespie. The Wellington outfit won last year's Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards; an annual event being held in Nelson this weekend.  ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ

Garage Project brewery founders from left, Jos Ruffell, Pete Gillespie, and Ian Gillespie. The Wellington outfit won last year's Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards; an annual event being held in Nelson this weekend.

ROBERT KITCHIN/Fairfax NZ

Beer makers from more than 100 breweries around the country will descend on Nelson this weekend hoping to scoop one of the industry's most prestigious prizes.

A total of 907 entries have been made to The Brewers Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards, which will be held at the Trafalgar centre on Saturday evening. 

The awards have mostly been held in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch since the annual event's inception in 2007.

Nelson had been chosen to host this year thanks in part to the success of the region's craft beer industry, executive director of the Brewers Guild, Sabrina Kunz said.

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"We wanted to acknowledge the strong production that we have in some of the regions."

Support from the Guild's president, Emma McCashin from Nelson-based craft beer pioneers, McCashin's Brewery, didn't go amiss either, Kunz said.

New categories have been introduced in this year's competition to recognise small, medium and large New Zealand champions, as well as an overall winner.

"Nelson has been a stronghold for craft breweries in New Zealand so it will be wonderful to see if one of the local brewers could take out one of those awards," Kunz said.

Wellington brewery, Garage Project, won the top prize of Champion Brewer Trophy at last year's event in Christchurch.

The Guild's annual Conference and Trade Show was due to be held at Annesbrook Auditorium on Friday, September 14.

It would feature speakers on issues including "women in brewing" and "beer tourism", Kunz said.

"Each of the regions that we have in New Zealand when it comes to beer tourism, is becoming quite distinct, and what Nelson offers is this real "grain to glass" opportunity.

"Certainly New Zealand hops are based out of Nelson and so for tourists, there's the opportunity to really see all aspects of that "grain to glass" supply chain, in a beautiful location."

Lou Draper