Last year was our first-ever Made in Vancouver awards, and our editors and special industry judges truly put their minds and bodies to the test sampling all the locally made goods that came in.

I know there's too much tragedy happening right now to argue that having to taste test a dozen different kinds of locally made ice creams was a hardship, but I just want to say: it's harder than you'd think, especially (please try not to cry) when each is more delicious than the last.

Our brave Drinks category judges may still be recovering. Food editor Neal McLennan, associate editor Nathan Caddell and our head judge, Savio Volpe wine boss Shiva Reddy, walked into the conference room at 10 a.m. to swill and sip everything from small-batch charcoal kefir to locally distilled vodka. The rest of the workday, needless to say, was a bust.

But this year, when the editors gathered together to discuss what should change for our second annual MIV awards, the Drinks crew didn't beg off their duties, or plead for fewer bottles. No, they boldly demanded a second beverage category. "Beer!" they cried, possibly still drunk almost a year after judging. "We want beer!"

adsasdasPhoto by Dan Gold on Unsplash

And so, we've acquiesced and given those thirsty maniacs what they wanted. For the first time in our proud, two-year history of these all-things-local awards, we're introducing a Best Beer category. (Other categories, as you probably already know, include Food, Home, Beauty, Style, Spirits, Zero-Proof Drinks and Wildcard) We even signed up an official Head Beer Judge, the great CBC beer columnist Rebecca Wyman.

The criteria to enter? You have to be manufacture your brew in the Lower Mainland, and it has to be beer.

The criteria to win? That beer has to be delicious, drinkable and stand out from the crowd.

We can already think of dozens of local contenders... but there's just a week left to get those entry forms in. In some ways, it's lucky the world has shut down so that our favourite local breweries will have time to prep their submissions. Head on over to MadeInVancouverAwards.com to complete that entry (we'll be in touch when our office is ready to actually receive the bottles!) and then stay tuned for the winners in the July issue of Vancouver Magazine. Whoever makes the list is going to be the must-drink beer of the summer, or the perfect bottles to stock up on for the next big pandemic. Either way, stay tuned.

The deadline for the 2nd annual Made in Vancouver Awards is March 30—enter now!