Australia stars at Icons of Gin Awards

28 February, 2020 by Andy Young

The booming gin scene in Australia has been recognised on the global stage, with Australian people, distilleries and venues scoring wins at the Icons of Gin awards, which took place in London overnight.

In total five awards were given to Australia in major categories including Distiller of the Year, Master Distiller of the Year and Bar of the Year.

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Adelaide Hills Distillery has taken out the prestigious Distiller of the Year award, an incredible achievement for a distillery that started out in founder Sacha La Forgia’s laundry in 2015.

The young distillery beat out established and emerging brands from around the world in an industry that is getting more crowded by the minute. In Australia alone, the craft gin industry volume is growing at over 28 per cent on last year.

La Forgia said: “I am truly humbled to receive this award, there is nothing I love more than making great tasting gins and knowing that we do it in a way which is sustainable for our precious environment. Cheers to that.

“One of the best parts of receiving this award is that we didn’t even enter, Gin Magazine had been watching us, and liked what they saw.

“Considering how many great craft distilleries are around these days it’s really special.”

La Forgia added: “I’m proud to say I’m committed to crafting spirits that are uniquely Australian, while paying respect to gin styles that have come, so I can offer gin lovers a uniquely Australian gin selection.”

The distillery’s core range is its 78 Degrees gins, but it also makes Bitter Orange, an Australian aperitif and a Native Grain Whiskey, which instead of being made from thirsty crops like barley it leans on Wattle Seed and other endemic grass species, which can grow without any inputs throughout Australia.

Another Australian winner was Dave Withers of Archie Rose, who was named as the Master Distiller/Master Blender of the Year. The team was understandably delighted with the award, and Founder, Will Edwards, told TheShout: “We’re incredibly proud to see Dave win this award in recognition of his hard work and dedication to producing innovative, exceptional quality spirits, as well as leading our amazing production team since we launched in 2015.

“He and the whole production team have been instrumental in us becoming Australia’s most highly awarded distillery and I can’t wait to celebrate with him at the bar this evening.”

The award winner himself added: “Super stoked, looking forward to a drink or two this evening.”

Caroline Childerley, The Gin Queen, was another Australian winner at the awards collecting the Communicator of the Year gong. Childerley told TheShout: “I’m stunned and thrilled. Moreso because it was a great night for Australian Gin – Best Distiller, Distillery, Sustainable Distillery and Bar of the Year.

“I’m still in shock.”

There was also recognition for Australia’s incredible bar scene with The Barber Shop in Sydney named as the Bar of the Year.

Mikey Enright, Director of Barrelhouse Group, which owns the bar told TheShout: “What an incredible achievement for the team at The Barber Shop in Sydney. We’ve had a few runner ups (Top Ten) at Tales of the Cocktail but never actually won an award from an overseas institution, until now.

“One very happy Boss right here and congrats to our Australian pals that did amazingly well too.”

The final Australian winner at the awards was Cape Byron Distillery who was named Sustainable Distillery of the Year.

Eddie Brook, Co-founder & CEO of Cape Byron Distillery told  TheShout: We were absolutely stoked to hear the news this morning that we were awarded the Icons of Gin International Sustainable Distillery of the year.

“We have picked up a few awards along the way however this award holds an extremely special place in our hearts. Sustainability and having a positive effect on our Environment is something that flows through our family and our company’s veins.

“This idea of Sustainability (sustainable best practice) runs through every part of our business hence why the team is so excited to receive this award.

“If we can build a thriving business and produce exceptional spirits whilst having a positive impact on the community and environment then we can hold our heads up high.”

Congratulations to all winners, an amazing achievement to see Australia’s gin scene recognised around the world.