Australian distillers win big in San Francisco

23 March, 2016 by Stefanie Collins

The San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) has been judged for another year, with more than 1700 spirits submitted, making it the largest field in 16 years of the competition.

The 2016 iteration was conducted from 17-20 March at the Hotel Nikko in San Francisco, with Australian distillers making their mark at what is arguably the world’s most influential spirits competition.

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There were multiple Double Gold Medals handed out with West Australian rum proving a favourite with the judging panels – both The Grove Experience and The Hoochery Distillery were awarded the prestigious titles for their Spiced Rum and Spike’s Reserve 10 Year Old Ord River Rum respectively.

Four Pillars Gin also continued its winning streak, picking up its second Double Gold Medal in three years for Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin. In a statement on Facebook the team thanked their supporters saying: “What an awesome triumph for Cam and our distillery team. With that good news, we reckon the atmosphere at our ‪‎Healesville HQ will be at an entirely new level of awesome over the long weekend.”

To receive a double gold medal, a spirit must be awarded a gold medal standard from every judge in its class.

There were plenty of other Australian winners with Hippocampus (pictured) taking home a gold medal for its gin that is just three months old. The distillery’s vodka also picked up bronze medal, with distiller Alex Poulsen ecstatic with the result.

“What’s awesome about the SFWSC is to see how your spirit stacks up against other spirits from around the world,” he says. “It’s one of the biggest competitions of its kind so for our gin to receive a gold medal from a blind panel of industry experts is humbling indeed.”

Also snagging a gold medal for their gin was Archie Rose in Sydney, with the distillery also picking up a silver medal for its White Rye.

McHenry Distillery brought home a medal of each colour from San Francisco, with the McHenry Navy Strength Gin, McHenry Classic Dry Gin, and McHenry Barrel Aged Gin picking up gold, silver and bronze respectively.

Ironbark Distillery also snagged four medals, with its 313 Dry Gin taking silver, 313 Dry Wattleseed Gin taking bronze, the 4 Week Barrel Aged Moonshine taking silver and the Crystal Clear Unaged Moonshine also being awarded bronze.

In a statement on Facebook, the distiller stated that “this is testament to the work we put in to making spirits that showcase what craft distillers in Australia are doing, and proves that our craft industry can compete on a world stage.”

Dobson’s Distillery also snagged two medals, a silver for the world-first Sumac Gin (which is made using the terpene pinene extracted from sumac instead of juniper) and a bronze for the New England Dry Gin, with the distiller noting on Facebook that the team is “suitably chuffed”.

The full results of the competition will be published online in April.

With award season in full swing, there was also a notable win for Bundaberg this week after the Bundaberg Blenders Edition 2015 was named the Best Rum at the 2016 World Drinks Awards in London. The win came after the rum had been named Best Dark Rum and after Bundaberg Small Batch had been named Best Golden Rum.

Duncan Littler, senior brand manager at Bundaberg Rum, said: “We are delighted to be named Best Rum in the World and Best Dark Rum in the World. To be recognised on the global stage and amongst such high calibre rums, is a testament to the quality of our product – and to the dedication of our team.”