Some of the best beers and ciders line up to show off their winning streak While IFE is predominantly a food show it has been drawing increasing interest from the drinks industry. Best evidence of this is the increasing number of entries for the International Beer and Cider competition which showcases its winners at the event. The competition is organised by The Grocer's sister title Off Licence News and winners have taken pride of place at the show for the last six years. The competition continues to go from strength to strength. For the 1999 show there were 258 products in the competition, this year there will be well over 300. The winning medals for each of the 18 categories are highly prized for the prestige they give the beers. They will also get exposure at IFE when they are sampled on the competition stand. This year four categories have been added, organic beer, organic cider, low alcohol lager and non alcoholic lager. Drinks companies from around the world will be exhibiting at the show. This includes one of the most famous Italian beer brands, Peroni. It is a regular exhibitor and will be promoting its Nastro Azzuro premium lager and its Grand Reserva Peroni malted beer. A spokesman for the company said the stand will be eyecatching. "We want to make sure everyone notices us." Three well known Belgian beers have joined forces to create the Classic Belgian Beers stand. Duvel, Chimay and De Koninck will be presenting a united front with the help of their two UK importers James Clay and Cave Direct. James Clay's owner Ian Clay said: "The brands have taken stands before but never as a group. "The idea was to put them all together so they will have a greater presence and we can tell visitors to the stand how to get hold of them." He said these Belgian specialities were for those who want something more unusual in their beer selections. He added the brands were becoming more successful as people began trading up. They now have listings in major multiples as well as in the on-trade. Simon Edwards, marketing manager of Cobra Beer, said the company was returning to IFE because it is the most important food and drink exhibition in the UK. "It attracts buyers from all over the world which suits our aim which is to make Cobra a global brand. "At the event in 1999 we got some great leads which led to some good distribution deals. This included a listing at First Quench as a result of a meeting at the show." The brand has 60% distribution in the UK's Indian restaurants and listings in all the major multiples. The company has also just launched its own range of wines called General Bilamoria. So far these are being made available to the Indian restaurant trade inside the M25. Cheshire based brewer Frederic Robinson is going back to the show for the second time. Its purpose is to source more contract brewing and bottling deals and wants to improve its export business. A spokesman for the brewer said: "We have structured our stand so people cannot just come on to it for a swift half without talking to us." The Organic Spirits Company is hoping to build on the success of its organic gin and vodka ­ Juniper Green and UK 5. Both were launched in 1999 and quickly won national distribution. The company is hoping to expand on this. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}