Australian Drinks Awards announces the 2021 Brand Awards

Australian Drinks Awards announces the 2021 Brand Awards

November 03, 2021

Now in its ninth year, the Australian Drinks Awards recognises, encourages and celebrates excellence in the Australian drinks industry.

As we are unable to celebrate the awards in person this year, we are delighted to announce the winners of the highly coveted Brand Awards. These awards are divided into two categories, Fan Favourite and Gaining in Popularity, and are determined by research undertaken by Thrive Insight via a survey of over 4,000 target consumers.

In all, thirty-five brand awards are distributed across Beer, Cider, Wine, Spirits and RTDs categories. This year, for the first time, there is a Fan Favourite Non-alcoholic Award in each beverage category. 

Fan Favourite Awards

Thrive Insights’ Director, Chris Papadimitriou said, "The Fan Favourite award is a prestigious award as it encompasses both brand and loyalty metrics to crown the most beloved brands across Beer, Cider, Wine, Spirits and RTDs.”

Mr Papadimitriou observed that this year brand affinity has increased making the Fan Favourite awards more closely contested than ever.

The Fan Favourite Awards are sponsored by Manildra Group. Head of Ethanol, Debbie Forster said, "The Fan Favourite award is an immense honour, celebrating a brand that consumers ‘most like to be seen with’. It recognises a brand that undoubtedly has excelled in innovation and resonated with fans across Australia."


XXXX Gold wins the Fan Favourite Classic Beer this year, wrestling the top spot from 2019’s winner VB while Great Northern continues to dominate the Contemporary beer category. This beer from Far North Queensland leverages its idyllic outdoor lifestyle brand persona and continues to deliver on easy drinking refreshment to beer drinkers across Australia.

Interestingly, Heineken has edged out Corona Extra in the Premium beer segment. While Corona Extra is still preferred by younger drinkers, Heineken has risen in popularity across all age groups.

Heineken 0.0 has also taken top honours in non-alcoholic beer, ahead of Carlton Zero.

James Squire One Fifty Lashes retains its crown as the Fan Favourite Craft beer with Balter XPA, proving it is one to watch having moved up to second place on the Fan Favourite Craft beer list and its Hazy IPA taking third position as well.

Somersby continues to dominate Cider as the leading fan favourite and Bilpin Cider Co is the favourite non-alcoholic cider for consumers.


In a close race Jack Daniel's Double Jack & Cola is the fan favourite overtaking Jim Beam Bourbon & Cola which won in 2019, while Vodka Cruiser Originals held on to the top spot ahead of Smirnoff Ice Double Black.

Leading non-alcoholic brand Seedlip from Diageo wins the Fan Favourite RTD for 2021 with Seedlip Spice 94 & Grapefruit Tonic with the brand dominating this category, also taking out second and third spots with Seedlip Garden 108 & Cucumber Tonic and Seedlip Grove 42 & Lemongrass Tonic.


Jack Daniel's took the top spot for Dark Spirits and remains a much-loved brand. Smirnoff won for White Spirits and Bailey’s remains a standout in the category for Aperitif / Liqueur, scoring well above its competitors, Midori and Malibu, which jostled for second place with less than one point between them.


Red wine drinkers overwhelmingly select Penfolds as their favourite red and Oyster Bay sits just ahead of Jacob’s Creek in White Wine as Fan Favourite. In the Rosé category, Jacob’s Creek assuredly retains the number one position.

One of Australia’s leading family-owned wine brands, Brown Brothers is without doubt the Australian fan favourite for consumers when it comes to Sparkling, well ahead of Chandon in second position. Brown Brothers was also voted best Australian wine in Canstar Blue’s 2021 Customer Satisfaction Awards.

Emma Brown, Brown Brothers Marketing Manager and 4th generation Brown family said, “For over 132 years Brown Brothers has been making wine with the consumer always at the heart of what we do.”

When it comes to Champagne, Thrive Insights’ research shows that Moët & Chandon is head and shoulders above its competition as the favourite brand for consumers.

McGuigan’s strength in non-alcoholic wines is also clear; the brand takes four of the top five Fan Favourite spots. McGuigan’s Zero Rose is Fan Favourite ahead of McGuigan Zero Sparkling which sits in second position.

Gaining In Popularity

The Gaining in Popularity awards reward consumer engagement across spirits, beer, wine, RTDs and cider.

Thrive’s Mr Papadimitriou said, “The Gaining in Popularity award showcases emerging and interesting brands with a number of challengers this year.”

IRI returned as the sponsor of the Gaining In Popularity category again this year and Marketing Director, Chelsey Peace said, "We are delighted to sponsor the Australian Drinks Awards 'Gaining in Popularity' category. At IRI, an organisation dedicated to helping brands to drive growth through enhanced understanding of consumer behaviour and the broader market, this category is about recognising and celebrating the brands that do this the best.”

"The past year has been a year like no other and at IRI we are pleased to see so many wonderful brands in contention this year, from well-known household brands through to new market entrants. This year's awards show us that innovation, insights, agility and action are alive and well and have helped so many drinks businesses to not only survive over the last year, but to thrive. Well done."


Thrive’s Mr Papadimitriou observed, “We found that during Covid many consumers favoured familiar brands with strong brand equity. As the quintessential iconic classic Aussie beer, it’s no surprise we see Victoria Bitter take out the Gaining in Popularity award in Classic beer.

“In the Contemporary category we have seen Byron Bay Premium Lager standout as the beer brand Gaining in Popularity while this year, the Gaining in Popularity Premium beer award has gone to Asahi Super Dry, which overtook Furphy Refreshing Ale for the top spot.”

Brick Lane One Love Pale Ale is awarded the Gaining in Popularity Craft beer award.

“Based in Dandenong, Melbourne and proud to be ‘fiercely independent’ and ‘community focused’, Brick Lane Brewing is a brand that has some real momentum, with distinctive packaging and fun craft beer persona,” said Mr Papdimitriou.

Leveraging their unique brand image established in beer, Young Henrys Cloudy Cider has taken out the Gaining in Popularity Cider award.


The distinctive Brookvale Union Spiced Rum & Ginger Beer has taken out the top spot as the Dark RTD gaining most in popularity while with the emergence of Seltzers, leading US brand White Claw Hard Seltzer has been impressive and a standout in the White RTD category.


Dead Man’s Fingers enjoyed huge sales growth and took out the top position for Gaining In Popularity ahead of The Kraken and Canadian Club, while Giniversity won in the White Spirits category ahead of Archie Rose and Four Pillars.


Fourth Wave Wine’s innovation and consumer centric approach saw Elephant in the Room take out the Gaining in Popularity award for Red Wine while Treasury Wine Estates' 19 Crimes continues to entice and engage consumers, winning in the White Wine category.

Bird in Hand was the clear leader for the Rosé category, well ahead of Kylie Minogue in second and Squealing Pig in third although Squealing Pig did win in the Sparkling Wine category.

Sales of Veuve Clicquot more than doubled with the Champagne topping the category ahead of Moët & Chandon and G.H. Mumm.

The 2021 Contribution to Industry winners will be announced at the Drinks Association's International Women’s Day event in March next year while the Supplier Awards were announced virtually in August.

The last Australian Drinks' Brand Awards were announced in 2019. There were none awarded last year due to the pandemic. 

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