Drink Easy announces University of Adelaide as major sponsor

Drink Easy awards

L-r: Rachna Jain, Professor Armando Corsi, Ollie Margan, Tamrah Petruzzelli. Photo: Brett Sheridan

The Drink Easy Awards are proud to announce the University of Adelaide as the national beverage show’s major sponsor for 2021.

As the major sponsor, the University of Adelaide will be Drink Easy’s official home for 2021, as the University’s historic Bonython Hall will host some of Australia’s most respected drinks identities for three days of judging (from August 11 to August 13) as well as a gathering of national food and drink identities and VIPs for the awards party on October 15.

Founded by hospitality heavyweights Tamrah Petruzzelli (Super Assembly), Mike Bennie (P+V Merchants) and Duncan Welgemoed (Africola) in 2019, the Drink Easy Awards celebrate drinks that represent excellence and show charisma, as well as the culture that surrounds brewing, distilling and fermenting.

“We are excited to partner with the University of Adelaide and call Bonython Hall home for 2021,” says Drink Easy Director Tamrah Petruzzelli. “The University has been instrumental in shaping so many of the world’s great winemakers and wine identities through its Oenology, Viticulture and Wine Business programs and this is the perfect opportunity for Drink Easy to join forces with a globally-respected institution.”

Drink Easy brings together all streams of beverage creation in Australia to reward those at the apex of their craft in the following categories: Wine, Spirits, Beer + Cider, Non-Alcoholic and Alternative with an overall Top 10 rewarding the best of the best.

“The University of Adelaide has a long history of world-class wine research at its Waite campus and deep connections with the beverage industry. Our graduates go on to be leaders in the sector,” says the University of Adelaide’s Ross Ganf, Director, Cultural and Campus Events. “With Drink Easy coming to South Australia, the home of great food and wine, another avenue of engagement with the broader beverage community has been opened up through this new partnership.

“The partnership is an example of how the University is providing students with real-world experience through its industry connections.”

For the inaugural awards, judges from around the country travelled to Hobart for three days of judging at Mona while the awards were held at Melbourne’s Paradise Alley where a wild ale from NSW, Wildflower’s St Phoebe 2019, was crowned Australia’s best drink over a Victorian skin contact pinot gris from Oakridge Wines (2019 Pinot Gris) and Sullivans Cove’s XO Double Cask Tasmanian Brandy.

After taking a pause in 2020 due to Covid, Drink Easy is excited to call Bonython Hall home for 2021 and offer internship, masterclass and stewardship opportunities for University of Adelaide students.

“Students from the University of Adelaide will shadow some of the best names in the drinks industry when they participate in Drink Easy,” says the University of Adelaide’s Dr Armando Maria Corsi who is Associate Professor of Wine Business at the Adelaide Business School.

“This is an opportunity offered exclusively to our students to gain an insight into professional drinks judging, as well as to have internships, masterclasses and stewardships with experts from the beverage world. By working direct with industry identities they will be equipped with the skills and knowledge, in addition to their core studies, which will help them excel in their chosen fields when they graduate.”

University of Adelaide student Rachna Jain has been selected to be one of the students to be involved in the Drink Easy judging process.

“By attending Drink Easy as part of my studies I will have the chance to see how professional judges like Ollie Margan decide what makes a great beverage and which ones will receive an award. This is invaluable experience which I would never have had otherwise,” says Rachna.

Alongside Drinks Director Mike Bennie, an impressive line-up of head judges will lead around 30 drinks, hospitality and media identities for three days of judging at Bonython Hall.

The head judges are: Emma Farrelly (State Buildings), Liam Pereira (Batch Brewing Co), Fred Siggins (Pith and Vinegar) and Thurman Wise (CAPI) while Mark Reginato (Hellbound) is chief steward.

Many University of Adelaide wine alumni are Drink Easy judges including: Professor John Carty (Professor of Anthropology & Director of the National Centre for Aboriginal Language and Music Studies), Sue Bell (Bellwether), Steve Pannell (SC Pannell), Ollie Margan (Maybe Mae), Tim Boast (Never Never) and Brendan Carter (Unico Zelo).

Australian drinks producers have until Friday 23 July to submit their products to Drink Easy for judging. Head to drinkeasy.com.au for more information.

Drink Easy Awards Key Dates

Submissions Close: Friday 23 July. Judging at Bonython Hall: Wednesday 11 August to Friday 13 August. Awards Party at Bonython Hall: Friday 15 October

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