Michael Donaldson, Chair of Judges
Michael Donaldson is one of New Zealand’s most renowned beer writers. His regular column appears in Fairfax's Your Weekend magazine and he is also the editor of Pursuit of Hoppiness, a bi-monthly magazine published by the Society of Beer Advocates (SOBA), New Zealand's leading consumer-oriented beer advocacy group. He was named the Brewers Guild Beer Writer of the Year for a second time in 2016. He is also the author of New Zealand's definitive beer history Beer Nation - the Art and Heart of Kiwi Beer as well as The Big Book of Home Brew: a Kiwi Guide. Michael has also been a judge at the Brewers Guild of NZ Awards.
Brian Watson,Table Captain
Founder and Director of Good George Brewing, qualified brewmaster Brian Watson has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry. Brian has been involved in judging beer since 1998 and has judged in many national and international competitions throughout his career. Brian has been involved in the installation of more than 35 breweries around the world and his passion, expertise and character are well known throughout brewing circles.
Geoff Griggs, Table Captain
Beer writer and National Homebrew Competition Chief Judge Geoff Griggs has been described as a “tireless and fastidious reporter of the New Zealand Brewing scene”. Since arriving in New Zealand in the mid-1990s, Geoff has written for numerous magazines, newspapers and trade publications. He is the only New Zealand beer writer to have been credited by ‘Beer Hunter’ Michael Jackson in his definitive books and was honoured to write the New Zealand chapter in Michael’s final publication The Eyewitness Companion Guide to Beer. A former executive committee member of the Brewers Guild of New Zealand, he has been a member of judging panels in many national and international beer competitions. Geoff is also a former president of New Zealand’s leading beer consumer group, SOBA.
Justin Oliver, Cider Table Captain
A qualified winemaker with over 20 years’ experience, Justin Oliver's passion for Cider was sparked at Zeffer Cider, where he was involved in the making of several multi-award winning ciders. This was followed by a role as Technical Advisor to Forbidden Cider, where more award-winning Ciders were produced. Justin has also served as a judge at the New Zealand Cider Awards in 2012, 2013, 2014 and as Head Judge in 2016.
Kelly Ryan (Table Captain)
Currently Head Brewer at Wellington’s Fork & Brewer, Kelly is a respected and sought after beer judge having judged multiple local and international beer competitions. After starting off as a trainee brewer at Tui Brewery, Kelly later completed stints at Fyne Ales and Thornbridge in the UK as well as Epic Brewing Company and the Good George brewpub in Hamilton. Kelly’s beers and ciders have won numerous awards.
Stephen Plowman (Table Captain)
Stephen is a home-brewing geologist who turned his passion into his profession after undertaking a brewing course at Australia’s Edith Cowan University. In 2005, Stephen and his wife Hayley launched brew bar and restaurant Hallertau Brewery in West Auckland, which specialises in distinctive craft beer. Through Hallertau Brewery, Steve combines local brewing techniques with some of the best international styles and flavours.
Tracy Banner (Table Captain)
Tracy is the Sprig and Fern Brewery’s Owner and Head Brewer and the mother of NZ brewing. With 33 years’ experience, she has spent her working life learning, developing and perfecting her beer brewing craft in breweries in the UK and New Zealand. Tracy is not afraid to push the envelope and to explore different facets of brewing to bring interesting, innovative tastes and different beer styles to discerning beer drinkers.
Alice is a dedicated beer drinker. She once drank and wrote about 365 different beers in a year for her blog, Beer For a Year, and has been an avid fan and advocate of New Zealand's brewing industry ever since. These days she writes about beer for various publications, including KiaOra and Toast magazines, and recently published her first book How To Have a Beer.
Amy has a Bachelor of Applied Science, majoring in Sensory Science. She has fine-tuned her palate through her 12 years at Plant & Food Research in the Sensory and Consumer Science team. Over the last 5 years her focus has been on the sensory evaluation of hops and beer. Through this research she developed a genuine passion for hops and craft beer. Currently she is working at Imake advising the Grainfather community with all things to do with brewing as well as providing valuable sensory input for product development.
With over 20 years’ experience in the industry, Glasgow native Colin Mallon was impressed by the diverse and experimental New Zealand craft beer scene. Having been in New Zealand for 13 years, Colin is now Operations Manager for the Malthouse and Fork & Brewer bars, as well as one of the creators of Fork Brewing. He has judged at the Brewers Guild of New Zealand Awards and at the 2016 World Beer Cup in Philadelphia, the largest competition of its kind. Colin is also responsible for the popular West Coast IPA Challenge which he launched in 2008.
With over 20 years in viticulture and winemaking, James Rowan was impressed by the innovative and sophisticated cider industry in New Zealand. Over the years, James has judged a number of awards shows, including the Fruit Wine and Cider Maker Awards, and holding a senior judging seat on the NZ Cider Awards panel for the past three years.
Buying a bottle of hoppy pale ale, thinking it would taste like Tui, put Jono Galuszka on the path to becoming the youngest ever recipient of the Brewers Guild Beer Writer of the Year award. Jono's writing appears in Fairfax's newspapers, the Pursuit of Hoppiness magazine, and his From Drinker to Brewer blog. He is regularly called on to present beer tastings and judge competitions, like the highly competitive West Coast IPA Challenge.
Liberty Brewing Company’s Joseph Wood has been brewing beer since he was a young adult. He is admired for brewing some of the country’s most progressive craft beers. Joseph and his wife Christina have owned and operated award-winning Liberty Brewing Company since 2009, which was started in New Plymouth but has now relocated back home in Helensville.
Kieran is a founding partner and head brewer for North End Brewing Co, the former beer specialist for Regional Wines and Spirits, the beer writer for Capital magazine and a founding member of SOBA, New Zealand's beer advocacy group. He has been a beer judge since 2007, judging at BrewNZ, BGNZ, the NZIBA and SOBA National Homebrew Champs.
Matt is co-founder and Head Brewer at award-winning ParrotDog in Wellington. A student home-brewer with big ambitions, Matt (along with two other Matts) founded ParrotDog in 2011. Since then the brewery has won a slew of awards, including Champion International Small Brewery at the Australian International Beer Awards 2015.
After brewing beer for seven years and completing a stint as brewer at one of New Zealand’s largest craft breweries, Upper Hutt-based Mike Neilson took a leap of faith in 2013 by starting up Panhead Custom Ales. New Zealand’s fastest growing brewery,Panhead now employs over 20 staff and has won numerous medals and best in classes at the Brewers Guild of NZ Awards.
Sam Williamson is brewery manager at the Sawmill Brewery, with a decades’ experience in the industry. He has previously judged at the Brewers Guild of NZ Awards, Fruit Wine and Cider Makers Awards and SOBA National Homebrew Champs.
A Qualified Master Brewer with 25 years’ experience in the industry, Shane Morley is currently Operations Manager at Steam Brewing Company in Auckland. Shane’s products have been awarded over 300 medals and trophies through New Zealand and international beer awards. Shane has also judged at the World Beer Cup USA, Australian International Beer Awards, CBIA and Brewers Guild of NZ Awards.
Having held various roles within the hospitality industry as a columnist and consultant, Wendy Roigard entered the brewing industry in 2009 in a sales & marketing capacity and immersed herself in the technical side of brewing. She then started Valkyrie Brewing Co in 2011, which has produced some renowned and unique beers, winning nine Brewers Guild of NZ medals over the past three years. Wendy has judged at the Brewers Guild of NZ Awards since 2012 as well as many other local homebrew competitions and events. In 2014 Wendy was a regional educator for the Brewers Guild Certificate in the Craft of Beer qualification.
Craig Bowen, Chief Steward
Craig Bowen is the founder of dedicated craft beer distributor BeerNZ that began nearly a decade ago when Craig, previously in the banking industry, saw a gap in the market for craft beer distribution. Serving as Chairman of the Brewers Guild of NZ Executive Committee from 2011 to 2014, Craig has also been the driving force behind the annual Brewers Guild of NZ Awards since 2009. Craig is also the Chief Steward of the Australian International Beer Awards as well as the Craft Beer Industry Association (Australia) Craft Beer Awards.
New World offers the opportunity for store staff and owners with an interest and passion for beer and cider to become Associate Judges. In 2017 we had five Associate Judges, all liquor managers from New World stores, who judged the entries alongside the professionals.
It’s an incredible experience to spend two days in the company of some of New Zealand’s best known brewers and cider experts, judging, discussing and analysing the competition entries. The Associates judge the beers and ciders in exactly the same way as the judges, but their scores are not taken into account.
The New World Beer & Cider Awards 2017 Associate Judges were:
- Calum Jamieson, New World Morrinsville
- Jeremy Ross, New World Warkworth
- James Lough, New World Porirua
- Mark Gower, New World Rototuna
- Matthew Wilson, New World South City
- Sunil Balu, New World Thorndon