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Australian consumers vote on their top tipples

Thirty-five brands have been recognised in this year’s Australian Drinks Awards which celebrates excellence in the liquor industry.

Celebrated virtually this year, the ninth edition of the awards were divided into two categories: Fan Favourites and Gaining in Popularity. For the first time this year, a non-alcoholic fan favourite was named in each category – beer, cider, wine, spirits and RTDs. The winners were determined by research undertaken by Thrive Insight which surveyed more than 4000 consumers.

Fan Favourite Awards

The top Fan Favourites this year.

XXXX Gold was named Fan Favourite Classic Beer this year, taking top spot from VB which won in 2019, the last time the awards were held. Great Northern continued to dominate the Contemporary Beer category.

Heineken edged out Corona Extra in the Premium beer segment. While Corona Extra is still preferred by younger drinkers, Heineken has risen in popularity across all age groups.

Heineken 0.0 has took top honours in the non-alcoholic beer category, ahead of Carlton Zero.

James Squire’s One Fifty Lashes retained its crown as the Fan Favourite Craft beer with Balter XPA, moving up to second place on the Craft beer list, ahead of Hazy IPA.

Somersby continues to dominate Cider as the leading fan favourite and Bilpin Cider Co is the favourite non-alcoholic cider for consumers.

In the RTD category, Vodka Cruiser Originals held on to the top spot ahead of Smirnoff Ice Double Black, while Jack Daniel’s Double Jack & Cola pipped 2019 winner Jim Beam Bourbon & Cola as fan favourite. 

Seedlip from Diageo won the non-alcoholic Fan Favourite RTD, from Seedlip Spice 94 & Grapefruit Tonic with the brand dominating this category.

Jack Daniel’s took the top spot for Dark Spirits, Smirnoff won for White Spirits and Bailey’s was a standout in the category for Aperitif/Liqueur. 

Red wine drinkers overwhelmingly selected Penfolds as their favourite red, New Zealand’s Oyster Bay beat Jacob’s Creek in Whites but Jacob’s Creek held the Rose section. Brown Brothers led the Sparkling section, ahead of Chandon. Moët & Chandon led the Champagne section.

In the alcohol-free category, McGuigan took four of the top five Fan Favourite spots, with its Zero Rose leading its Zero Sparkling in the top two spots.

Thrive Insights’ director, Chris Papadimitriou said brand affinity has increased more than ever this year, making the Fan Favourite awards even more closely contested.

“The Fan Favourite award is a prestigious award as it encompasses both brand and loyalty metrics to crown the most beloved brands across beer, cider, wine, spirits and RTDs.”

The Fan Favourite Awards were sponsored by Manildra Group.

Gaining In Popularity Awards

The second part of the event, the Gaining in Popularity awards sponsored by IRI, recognises consumer engagement across spirits, beer, wine, RTDs and cider.

“The Gaining in Popularity award showcases emerging and interesting brands with a number of challengers this year,” said Papadimitriou. 

IRI marketing director Chelsey Peace said this year’s awards demonstrate that innovation, insights, agility and action are alive and well and have helped so many drinks businesses to not only survive over the last year, but to thrive.”

The leading Gaining in Popularity winners.

Victoria Bitter, Byron Bay Premium Lager, Asahi Super Dry and Brick Lane One Love Pale Ale led the beer category, with Young Henrys Cloudy Cider the leading cider.

In RTDs, Brookvale Union Spiced Rum & Ginger Beer took top spot among Dark RTDs, while US brand White Claw Hard Seltzer topped the White RTD list.

Dead Man’s Fingers, The Kraken and Canadian Club, and Giniversity won in the White Spirits category ahead of Archie Rose and Four Pillars.

In wine, Fourth Wave Wine’s Elephant in the Room won the Red award, Treasury Wine Estates’ 19 Crimes the White, and Bird in Hand the Rosé. Squealing Pig was the top Sparkling Wine.

Sales of Veuve Clicquot more than doubled last year, helping it top the Champagne rankings ahead of Moët & Chandon and G H Mumm.

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