Northern Beaches-based Bucketty's are one of the smaller operations in Australia but continue to punch above their weight. For the second year running, they've claimed a medal at the world's biggest beer comp, the World Beer Cup.
At the awards ceremony held in Nashville this morning, Australian time, they picked up silver for their Sunday Bitter in the English Mild or Bitter category. At the World Beer Cup – at which 10,213 beers were entered this year – only one gold, silver and bronze are awarded in each category so any medal is highly prized.
Last year, the brewery won a bronze for their Pale Ale No.2, and now have gone one better with their Nashville silver, ending the night as the only Australian brewery with an award to bring back in their luggage, and taking the opportunity to showcase brewery-branded budgie smugglers while they were at it.
Nick McDonald, who founded the brewery with wife Lexi, says he could feel head brewer Tony stressing in his seat next to him as the awards continued and they hadn't pick anything up. So the relief and delight for the team of five from the brewery – one of the largest contingents from Australia – was real.
“To be here for it is just so unbelievable," Nick told The Crafty Pint.
As for Tony, who has a tattoo of last year's award on one arm and now plans to get another, he said: “I was told we would never win again and we just proved them wrong.”
Of the silver medal-winning beer he said: “It’s done well at other competitions and it does really well over the bar. We also tend to be pretty good at those styles and Scottish styles.
"[Voyager co-founder] Stu does a really great job of supporting us and we love supporting him," Tony added. "It's great to see an award-winning beer made with award-winning malt."
The World Beer Cup is considered one of the world's most prestigious beer awards, with only three medals awarded in each category: bronze, silver and gold. The 10,000-plus beers entered in the 2023 competition came from from 2,376 breweries across 51 countries, spread across 103 categories.
The event brings to a close the Craft Brewers Conference, a vast annual event to which dozens of Australians travel, from breweries as well as businesses supplying the industry.
For many, eyes will now turn to the largest beer competition in this country. Judging for the Australian International Beer Awards takes place next week, with many of those who attended the Craft Brewers Conference flying straight into judging in Melbourne. The winners will be announced at a gala dinner on May 25 in The Docklands during Good Beer Week.
The Crafty Pint's senior writer, Will Ziebell, is in the States for the Craft Brewers Conference and World Beer Cup, and is exploring of the American beer scene around the main event.
You can check out the first of his Letters From America here and look out for more on his subsequent experiences in Nashville and upcoming travels in Denver and San Diego.