A Hawke's Bay cider company is celebrating a "triple crown" of achievements, after following a major Australian export deal with a double win at the New World Beer and Craft Awards.
Fernhill-based cidery Zeffer Cider Co took out both Champion titles at the 2018 New World Beer & Cider Awards, with two of its brews beating out almost 600 beer and cider entries from New Zealand and overseas.
Zeffer's Crisp Apple Cider won Gold and the Champion title in the Apple and Pear Cider Class while Zeffer's Two Point Five won Gold and the Champion title in the Fruit and Flavoured Cider Class.
Now in their fourth year, Foodstuffs New Zealand managing director Steve Anderson said the awards were designed to better connect beer and cider-keen customers with the best brews on the market.
"Our beer and cider offering continues to grow off the back of increasing consumer interest in the category. We want to deliver the best for our customers and give talented brewers the recognition they deserve in-store.
"New Zealand brewers and cidermakers have performed extremely well in this competition in the past and we are proud to reward them with a space on the shelf during our awards promotion period. The opportunity for nationwide distribution through New World stores can have an incredible impact on a brand and business, even for those more established breweries."
More than 90 breweries and cideries entered this year's awards with specialist judges enlisted to judge the cider category for the first time since the awards started.
"With so many high-quality entries, it's a great achievement to win big at these awards with not one but two of our ciders," Zeffer head cider maker Jody Scott said.
As a result, both ciders will now earn nationwide distribution through 135 New World stores, from today.
"It is also an amazing opportunity for our business as that gold sticker and guaranteed distribution is highly coveted and it means more cider drinkers are able to try our cider.
"We do also have a number of loyal fans so if we can make it easier for them to get their hands on our Zeffer, all the better".
The latest accolade comes just a week after the company successfully negotiated a deal with Australian supermarket chain Coles that would see Zeffer products stocked in about 70 bottle stores along the east coast of Australia.