Right then. It's time to hand the reins over to the beer lovers of Australia to select the winner of the ultimate prize from the inaugural Beer Swag Day: the swag full of swag and year of beer!
First up, thanks to everyone that got involved. There's the team that turned an idea – put forward by Crafty contributors Guy Southern and Matt King within a couple of days of each other – into a nationwide celebration of local beer in a matter of weeks. There's the breweries, bars, beer businesses and bottleshops that got behind it. And, most of all, there's the beer lovers that embraced it.
It's one of those exercises where, much like the entire Keeping Local Alive campaign from which it was spawned, we had no idea what's going to go down on the day. We kept our expectations low – then spent the entire day playing catch up as the posts and tags kept coming. Little wonder it's taken a pool of judges drawn from across the Aussie beer community a couple of days to agree on the finalists...
Before we get to them, however, some seriously honourable mentions. (Although you can scroll down now to check them out and cast your votes...)
There were some epic entries from people running breweries and other beer businesses, with Beach Beer Bondi's insane video getting the day off to a flier (loved the pool noodle for social distancing), Blackman's bringing the goods as usual with some fine outfit changes, and Michelle from Edge Brewing Project / Northdown, Craft Beer ripping through her entire wardrobe in rapid fire style.
Elsewhere, there was such fierce competition that entries featuring epic hauls, great stories or some serious efforts behind the camera missed out by the narrowest of margins.
In Queensland, the beer tour companies came out punching – literally in the case of Josh from Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Tours, while across the day Joslyn and Matt unveiled one of the most insane collections in the country. The state gave us a COVID-appropriate brewery branded face mask and this video that almost capped off the entries from the Sunshine State.
There were many who were keen to celebrate Sweetyeee, who posted a shot from her wedding day – wearing a Sauce hoodie – while we were knocked sideways by this painstakingly put together growler collection, impressed by this epic cross-category haul and keen to join these guys for knock-offs.
Add in videos from the likes of Aaron Gladki, Francis Collins, Drew Bowyer and Ariana Ahomiro, plus collections worth hundreds, if not thousands, of bucks such as this, this, this, this and this (just one of many images posted by James and Jenn Davidson), not to mention recreations of the postponed GABS at home, cute photos featuring babies and dogs, plus this charming shot of a beer swag, and whittling this down to the final seven for you to pick from has been no easy task.
We'll close voting at midday AEST on Friday, May 29.
Tasmania: The Step Brewers
Name: Ali, Ian and Klimt
Relationship with beer: We run Step Brewers Podcast, love local indie beer and Klimt also owns Spotty Dog Brewers.
Tell us about your winning entry: These shots are from Ali's birthday bottleshare, the first drinks we've had together since March 15!
Your favourite piece of beer swag:
Klimt – I have an Arrogant Bastard long sleeve tee I picked up at Stone Brewing Brewery and World Bistro in California. That or my Winston beanie!
Ian – my DontDrinkBeers "Barleywine is Life" tee.
Ali – my Mr Banks Brew Co tee "Haze ain't a Craze".
In terms of effort, entertainment and excess, it's hard to beat this video entry from the Geelong waterfront, which lands Chelsea a mixed case put together by Mr West as well as a Keeping Local Alive t-shirt.
Name: Chelsea Phillips
Relationship with beer: Maltster at Barrett Burston/beer enthusiast/ex brewer.
Tell us about your winning entry: Recently been learning to skateboard and had a last minute vision of my outfit changing. And an even more last minute idea to jump into the 12 degree bay to cool off. I dislocated my knee the night before so was in significant pain. I'm a huge merch enthusiast but wish they had more women's shirts!
Your favourite piece of beer swag: Socks are always the unisex merch winner and my Cryer Malt snapback is one of my absolute favourite wardrobe pieces ?
New South Wales
A little rain wasn't enough to stop this BBQ. Or indeed raiding the fancy dress box. Or putting together a multi-photo techno montage of the day!
Name: Michael Scott
Location: Zetland, Sydney
Relationship with Beer: Beer has been very good to me. In fact I met my wife and future family-in-law at a pub. While having a quiet drink in a noisy environment we literally turned and bumped into each other.
I probably "noticed" beer more once I had the opportunity to travel. Knowing that I wanted to try craft beer as part of the experience I quickly learned "beer comes in vastly different flavours, styles and colours" ... what a wonderful experience.
I’m very lucky. I live just a short distance from Alexandria and Marrickville – Walking distance to some of the best beers in Australia.
Tell us about your winning entry: Photographed by my wife Leanne and sister Jodie. My niece Taylah and I raided the fancy dress collection while we hung our beer t-shirts on the line. The weather was cold and wet but he had a blast.
Due to my technical difficulties, my other niece Jaimee stepped in and constructed the photos and sound into a shirt video. We took hundreds of pictures and compressed it. Many a good picture was left on the cutting floor. Don’t worry, I’ll make some artwork out of it one day!
Your favourite piece of beer swag: That's a hard one. I wear all of my shirts – I'm basically a brewery billboard in walking form. If I had to pick one... then I guess I'll have to go with my Rocks Brewing Co t-shirt.
As part of their win, Michael will be getting a #keepinglocalalive mixed case of NSW beers from Beer Cartel.
Just like the state's brewers and beer scene in general, the standards were high in the Sunshine State, from glorious sunsets and coastal vistas to videos and montages galore. But, in the end, how could we go past the living legend that is the Beer Tragic!
Name: John Black AKA Trag
Location: Brisbane / Tragvegas
Relationship with beer: Beer Tragic
Tell us about your winning entry: What can I say except that I love wearing all my Beer Swag around to promote the breweries, bars and people I love so much!
Your favourite piece of beer swag: Can't really top my Beer Tragic bar runner and stubby cooler made specially for my 50th birthday thanks to Thirsty Merchants, my fave local breweries and Gill from The Mill!
As part of his prize, Trag wins a mixed case put together by Brewski / My Beer Dealer.
Getting the iron out might have been a step too far for the man behind FrothiesAus but he did showcase a small selection of his swag on the day and has a mixed case of beer from the capital's brewers awaiting him at Plonk.
Name: Grant Lukins
Relationship with Beer: I suppose that depends who you ask, I’d say I’m a massive craft beer enthusiast/supporter but my wife might use a different word!
Tell us some more about your winning entry: This is a small portion of my swag collection, the ones that were handy on the morning. The glasses, hats, stubby holders and bottle openers I’ve gathered were spread too wide to gather.
Your favourite piece of beer swag: As a parent I know it would be wrong to pick a favourite (it’s my Black Hops bottle opener – shhhh!).
The Beer Economist got in before the storms currently battering the west coast hit his home in Perth and invited his kids to help out with his beer dino montage too.
Name: Brendan Fernandez
Relationship with beer: Having first discovered craft beer during uni days with mates at one of the original craft beer bars in WA, the Sail & Anchor in Freo, it has been a passion ever since!
Tell us some more about your winning entry: Really I just wanted to have a bit of fun with it, whilst showing support for the local industry. This represents an expression of three of my favourite passions: family, beer and supporting local.
Your favourite piece of beer swag: Beer glasses, both local and international, collected over the years. No matter what anyone says, you can never have too many beer glasses!
Brendan will be getting his hands on a mixed case of WA goodies from Cellarbrations Carlisle.
In terms of huge hauls per capita, SA's beer lovers came up trumps, making it a tough decision. Sam Beard's collection – compiled with husband Luke – got the nod, but I'm going to send a bonus prize to Rod Warneke too, in particular for this remarkable lineup of Big Day Out tinnies – as good an example of rare and vintage as we spotted all day.
Name: Sam Beard
Relationship with beer: Strong, stable and committed!
Tell us more about your entry: This is the collection that Luke and I have have collected over the last few years – I also wear his gear, so I do get to claim more of it than he does! There is probably this much again from breweries from around the world.
Fave piece of beer swag: There’s two - Beer Is A Girl's Drink t-shirt from Young Henrys and my Wheaty fancy glass.
The Beards will be tucking into a mixed case of SA beers from Goodwood Cellars as part of their win.
Time to Vote!
You can find details on what makes up the main prize besides the swag and year of beer from Fury & Son here.
Thanks to everyone within and without the Crafty team for their help pulling this together at such short notice, Lallemand Brewing for their financial support of the #keepinglocalalive campaign, Short Batch Co for helping us get campaign out in next to no time, to Andrew at Fury & Son, Steph at Cryer Malt and Jessie at Craft Instinct for help picking the winners so far, to everyone who's donated beer and other prizes, and everyone who took part on the day.
The local community is going to need your support for a lot longer yet due to the impact of COVID-19 so let's keep on #keepinglocalalive!