Skip to main content

Indie Beer Can Festival returns with competition to find the nation’s best independent beer – in a can

October 2015

The award-winning Indie Beer Can Festival: 2016, the world’s first UK and Eire-wide competition to crown the very best independent beer in cans is back by popular demand. Launched by the Can Makers in partnership with the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), the event will be judged by four industry expertsrising star, Ben Hulme, Head of Beers, Wines and Spirits at Lidl UK. Independent brewers can enter the competition at and vie for the unique opportunity to showcase their brews in a canned packaging format at the festival final.

Brewers can choose to enter one of three categories: ‘Best Ale’, ‘Best Lager’ or ‘Best ‘Other’. Finalists will automatically be eligible for an additional category: ‘Best Design’ and one beer will be crowned overall ‘Best in Show’. There is no limit on the number of beers that each brewery can enter and applications are welcomed from beers already in a can as well as those not yet canned.

Entries close at midnight on 11 December after which a first round of judging, based on written entries, will take place. Returning to the judging panel alongside Ben Hulme is Adrian Tierney-Jones, award winning writer and journalist. They will be joined by Annabel Smith, a renowned beer Sommelier who also worked as beer taster and a training manager at Cask Marque for a decade. Completing the line-up is Chairman of the panel, Martin Constable of the Can Makers.

Ben Hulme comments: “Consumer demand for independent beer is increasing year-on-year and I’m personally excited about how this market is continuing to evolve. For the last twelve months brewers and consumers have been dipping their toes into the canned beer market; now that market is preparing to go mainstream, I can’t wait to see where we are in a year’s time. It’s great to be involved in an event that is helping to drive this trend.”

The first round of judging will be followed by a blind taste-testing semi-final in January. Twelve beers will then proceed to the final on 12 May 2016; for each finalist whose chosen beer is not yet in cans, the Can Makers will arrange production of 100ltrs of their beer to be canned for the first time. Those brewers will also have the chance to work with the Can Makers’ in-house teams, and the Can Creator app, to create a 360o, eye-catching designs to decorate their cans.

Adrian Tierney-Jones, who returns to the panel for a second time, comments: “I had a fantastic time last year working with the emerging canned beer market and tasting a huge range of new and innovative brews. Some of the flavour combinations were truly remarkable. I can’t wait to see what we discover this time around – the entrants have a lot to live up to.”

At a final judging session, each canned beer will be scrutinised by the expert judges. Winners will be announced during the exclusive Indie Beer Can Festival that same evening. Throughout the event every finalist will have the opportunity to have their beers sampled by influential guests from the entire industry supply chain, as well as media and market influencers.

Martin Constable says: “We are delighted to be working with SIBA again to champion the canned beer movement and to present our new judging line-up. Since the last competition some of our entrants have begun canning their beers full-time, for them and others interested in canning, we have launched the Indie Beer Can Adviceservice. Through this site, in combination with the competition, we hope to provide a chance for brewers to explore the benefits of cans and make the most of this fast evolving market.”

Mike Benner, SIBA’s Managing Director, said: “It is great to see more innovative independent brewers investing in canning and supplying flavoursome beers in a can.  Cans are light, portable and quick to chill and therefore offer brewers new markets to enter. Add to that the incredible opportunity they provide for designers and brand owners to communicate the beer’s personality, and we can see why the can is gaining so many fans. SIBA is proud to support this fantastic event and we will be encouraging all of our craft brewing members to enter this prestigious competition.”

Interesting article?

Sign up for our newsletter and find out all you need to know about metal packaging.