Our History

In association with the Australian Amateur Brewers Assoc. (AABA).

In 1994-95, eastern states representative, Colin Penrose, approached the NAWBS** (see below) committee with the suggestion that NAWBS be part of a national beer competition.

The competition would be be comprised of all state competitions initially, from these competitions the best three of each beer category would qualify to enter a national event. The States would take it in turns to host this event.

NAWBS rejected the idea, preferring their national competition to be autonomous. At this time, however, the amateur brewing competition scene was changing rapidly with numerous national competitions being held in other states. The feeling was that Australian homebrewers needed state qualifying competitions culminating in a national event.

In 1996 SA’s Mike Leupold was approached by Colin Penrose (editor of Ausbeer Magazine, Vic), to organise a state brewing competition in SA. At about the same time, Mike was also approached by Jock Duncan, President of the Royal Agriculture and Horticultural Soc. of S.A. Jock wanted to know why a beer competition wasn’t being held at Adelaide’s show grounds. The idea was soon adopted. The criteria were the following;

  • Support from both Blackwood and Adelaide Wine & Beer Clubs. (Organizers of NAWBS)
  • Financial support from major suppliers and brew shops, etc.

Ron Head and Glen Davies (founders of NAWBS) assisted with advice. Coopers & Adelaide Maltings (as it was then) provided main sponsorship. Both Adelaide & Blackwood Clubs & Home Brew Shops all chipped in with $60 each to get the competition started.

1997 – SABSOSA was organised from scratch in 12 weeks. The inaugural STATE AMATEUR BREWERS SHOW OF SA was held at the Adelaide Show Grounds, in affiliation with the Autumn Flower and Garden Festival.

Great public interest was created and this was the beginning of state qualification rounds for the national competition (AABC). All the States were finally under one flag for the biggest brewing competition in Australia, The Australian Amateur Brewers Championship, (AABC) judged this year in Melbourne.

1998 – SABSOSA entries doubled to over 300 bottles. 15 judges decided the winners. Coopers & Adelaide Maltings were the main sponsors along with Home Brew Shops and both Adelaide & Blackwood Clubs NAWBS financial supporters. The AABC was judged in Canberra.

1999 – The Autumn Flower & Garden Festival at the Show Grounds was abandoned. SABSOSA moved to a new site at The Holdfast Bay Bowling Club, Glenelg. Both Adelaide & Blackwood Clubs withdrew their sponsorship, suggesting that, after two years of support, SABSOSA were now in competition with them?

2000 – The AABC was judged in Adelaide. Previously it had been in Canberra and the following year was to be held in Melbourne.

2001 – SABSOSA and competitions affiliated to the AABA became committed to qualifying State rounds with the national championship being judged in a different state each year.

2002 – SABSOSA’s top entrants gleaned four first places in the AABC, the best results to date.

2003 – Another successful SABS, with style guidelines at last settled there, were no alterations this year.

2004 – A record 17 judges, partly due to the SABS Tasting Workshop that was run. At last SABSOSA had its own website. Results of this year’s competition were posted on 15 Sept.

2005 – AABC judged in SA, at Coopers Brewery. The judges were joined by six others from interstate. SA’s best results to date, making a record clean up of prizes with 4 x 1st, 6 x 2nd & 5 x 3rd places.

2006 – AABC judged in Melbourne.

2007 – A massive rehash of the AABC Beer Categories and Style list now comprised of over 80 beer styles. AABC judged in NSW for the first time with no trophies awarded!

2008 – Only small changes were made to the category list. The inaugural ANHC was held in Melbourne during AABC judging. The competition was well run and presented.

2009 – Constituted the biggest revision list to date, now with a total of 18 Beer categories. The procedure for judging was rationalized. SA drew second place nationally with Vic and NSW. The AABC was held in Canberra.

2010 – Second Australian National Homebrew Conference (ANHC) and the AABC will coincide on the weekend of 28-30th October, in Melbourne.

2011 – AABC held in Adelaide this year, following SABSOSA. We now have an AABC banner and a Best State award trophy. SA was pipped by one point for the best state.

2012 – For the first time since 2004 there were new additions to the committee. Until then the committee comprised of Mike Leupold, Alex Szabo, Peter Winch and Tim Harriss. New members, Rachel Edwards, Jared Birbeck and Russell Taylor. Mike was not present for the first time since the competition started, spending his time at last, for two months, in Belgium and Germany sampling beers!

2013 – Adam Beauchamp had previously won four SA championships, but this year in Canberra, was awarded best brewer nationally in the AABC. The runner-up, also from South Australia, was Brad Bown.

2014 – Adam Beauchamp won Champion Beer of Show at the AABC with his American IPA. ANHC4 was held in Canberra.

2015 – A big year with 320 entrants from 75 brewers.

2016 РThe debut of the CompMaster online entry system. ANHC5  held in Adelaide. AABC was held in Adelaide and SA won the best state!

2017 – The website was updated into the 21st century. The old pm-wiki site was replaced with a WordPress site. We used a new online entry system tool called BCOE&M which is freely available at www.brewcompetition.com

2018 – 361 beers. 95 entrants. 31 individual placegetters. That’s gotta be a record! SA takes the best State at AABC and two brewers take equal second in best of show.

2019 – After 21 years, the competition running changes to be hosted by the SA Brewing Club, SA’s largest homebrewing club. Its members have over the years, played a large part in SABSOSA’s success.

**NAWBS: National Amateur Wine and Beer Show are still judged each year in South Australia. This is the longest running national wine & beer competition in Australia. Predominately wine oriented.