Tracy Banner of the Sprig & Fern was a big winner in the Beer & Brewer magazine’s people’s choice awards. Photo: Phillip Rollo.

Award results un-beer-lievable

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If Nelson’s claim to the country’s “beer capital” crown needed any more evidence, the results of the latest beer and brewer awards have provided it in spades.

The New Zealand People’s Choice Awards, printed in the Australian-wide Beer and Brewer magazine, are dominated by Nelson bars, brewers and businesses, winning 23 awards between them.

The Sprig & Fern has won best beer venue, best small bar for its Milton St franchise, best cider, best microbrewery/beer company and its owner and head brewer, Tracey Banner, was picked as brewer of the year.

Stoke won best beer, for its Bomber Bohemian Ale, and finished runner-up for best brew bar, and third for best micro-brewery/beer company. Its brewer Sam Wilson was runner up to Tracey as the country’s top brewer.

Other local businesses also got in on the action. Matt Duncan from Founders Brewery was voted as runner-up in the best young brewer of the year, Scott Bradley from Rhythm & Brown was voted best beertender in the country, while Andrew Cole from the Moutere Inn was runner-up in that category.

The Freehouse was voted best large bar in the country, Fresh Choice Nelson was second in the best bottle shop section, Peckhams Cider was runner up in the cider category and Marchfest was voted the second best beer event in New Zealand.

Appleby-based New Zealand Hops won the award as the best supplier.

Tracey Banner says the awards show Nelson is leading the way in the industry and the entire region should be proud.

“What stood out was the sheer amount of Nelson businesses, both the breweries and hospitality venues,” she says.

“It just shows what we’re producing in the region, from both beer, cider and delivering them in the taverns. It’s just fantastic.”