The Beer Awards will be decided in July

The Beer Awards will be decided in July

The team behind the International Wine & Spirits Competition is branching out into beer for the first time.

The IWSC Group said it is to start taking nominations for The Beer Awards from Friday. The new competition aims to highlight the world's "exceptional" beers to aid consumer choice in an increasingly crowded beer market, the company said.

Results of the competition will be announced in July and it is open to packaged beers from around the world for all sizes of brewers, the IWSC Group said. Categories include Pale Ale, Saison and Pilsner among others. Cider is not included in this year's competition, however a spokesperson for IWSC Group said there is "certainly potential" for the category.

The judging process for the awards will be the same as for the wines and spirits competition, with a blind tasting scoring the beers out of three, four or five stars. The five-star beers will then be retasted to determine the best. Finally, the beers will undergo a chemical and technical analysis and levels of alcohol, bitterness and colour tested to ensure consistency and reliability.

Former CEO of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling Simon Jackson will lead the judging panel.

Click here for a run-down of the trophy winners of the latest International Wine & Spirits Competition, held at the end of last year.