Australian spirits show their class on world stage

14 August, 2020 by Andy Young

Australian spirits have continued to gain recognition on the international stage, with a stellar performance at the 2020 International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC).

IWSC is one of the world’s most prestigious award shows, so scoring 94 medals, including 12 gold, reflects how great the spirits are that are currently being produced across Australia.

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The 12 Australian gold medallists are:

  • Cape Byron Distillery, Brookie’s Byron Slow Gin
  • Four Pillars Distillery, Bloody Shiraz Gin
  • Four Pillars Distillery, Rare Dry Gin
  • Granddad Jack’s Craft Distillery’s, 65 Miles Gin
  • Kangaroo Island Distillery, Kis O Gin
  • Kangaroo Island Distillery, Kis Wild Gin
  • Lark Distillery, Muscat Cask Single Malt Whisky
  • Lark Distillery, Sherry Matured Sherry Finished Single Malt Whisky
  • Never Never Distilling, Triple Juniper Gin
  • Seppeltsfield Road Distillers, Savoury Allsorts Gin
  • The Tailor Made Spirits Company, The West Winds Gin – Wild Plum
  • Turner Stillhouse, Three Cuts Distiller’s Release Gin

Kangaroo Island Distillery was understandably delighted with its two gold medals, and Founder Jon Lark told The Shout the brand also scored well at the SIP Awards in California, winning two gold and two silver medals.

“Both the competitions represent great recognition for the winners,” Lark said. “The IWSC has been operating for over 50 years and is really the ‘Oscars’ of spirit competitions and we really respect the results coming from the SIP Awards who unlike most competitions, have a strong consumer judging focus.

“To us the consumers are often more relevant and adventurous in trying and exploring new spirits -flavours, processes and styles.

“I think the success of Australian Gins now showing is a lot to do with the maturing consumers. When we started in 2006 we had to explain what Craft premium gin was. Now consumers are armed with a lot of knowledge about styles, brands and processes. This is a great thing for the industry and helps to ensure success is measured against quality, provenance and a genuine relationship with our customers.

“We did very well in both competitions and while this time we managed to score higher than any other Australian Gins we very much know that we were in great company with a hair’s breath between many of our industry friends. Next time it will be someone else’s turn and we will continue to work towards what we love which is delivering great spirits that represent the places we live.”

With two gold medals, Co-Founder of Four Pillars Gin, Stu Gregor, said he very happy to see the brand enjoyh another strong IWSC showing.

“Nobody loves the IWSC more than Four Pillars – after-all we are the reigning International Gin Producer of the Year, so those judges have impeccable taste,” Gregor told The Shout.

“Gold for Rare Dry Gin and Bloody Shiraz Gin for us this year and four gins that collected high silvers. We don’t normally enter Bloody Shiraz into awards as it’s difficult to find a category that fits, so it’s terrific that it has won its first ever gold medal at the world’s most prestigious show. Not a bad place to start.

“Also for us it’s great that our Rare Dry Gin, our original and most important gin, continues to win gold – it has won at least one gold medal at serious international spirits awards every year since 2014, so that’s nice to keep the momentum going.”

He added: “As I have said a few times before Aussie spirits, especially gins, are pound for pound right now the best in the world and the 2020 IWSC further reinforces this.”

The West Winds Gin also enjoyed a successful IWSC this year with a silver medal for its Cutlass Gin sitting alongside a gold medal for its Wild Plum Gin.

Paul White, Captain and Ship’s Navigator, The West Winds Gin, told The Shout: “Wins like these show that our gins are still relevant. Despite being one of the first gin producers in Australia, it’s clear consumers today still enjoy the gin we started producing 10 years ago. We put a huge emphasis on product development and innovation and that’s paid off. We’ve been able to forecast innovation and shopper needs and we’ve been able to predict the direction our market has gone in.”

Speaking about why Australia did so well at this year’s awards, White added: “Aussies generally aren’t good at following the rules. We like to push the boundaries by mixing native botanicals into our gins and that’s especially true of West Winds. We were the first producer to use sea salt in a gin for example. In Australia, we have access to unique botanicals that can’t be found anywhere else in the world and that gives us the ability to develop flavours that can’t be replicated elsewhere.”

Cape Byron Distillery also scored a gold medal for its Slow Gin, as well as two other medals and Co-Founder Eddie Brook told The Shout the wide variety of winners, shows just how good Australian spirits are.

“We were absolutely stoked to hear the news that we picked up a Gold medal for our Brookie’s Byron Slow Gin made with native Davidsonia plums as well as a Silver for both our Brookie’s Dry Gin & Mac (Macadamia & Wattle seed liqueur),” Brook said.

“These medals provide us with international recognition for the quality of our spirits which go a long way to bringing on new customers as well as opening up new markets.”

He added: “Taking one quick glance at the list of Australian spirits that picked up medals it shows the calibre of spirits being produced in Australia. We are becoming a quality powerhouse in the international spirit industry and these medals go a long way to growing the interest in Australian Spirits.”

This year’s IWSC was also successful competition for Sydney distillery Archie Rose, picking up eight medals in total, including a silver medal for its popular Rye Malt Whisky.

Founder Will Edwards told The Shout: “Receiving global recognition via awards such as these is testament to our distilling team and the passion that goes into creating our gins, whiskies and vodka, as well as to the local producers who share our passion for absolute quality.”

And the awards keep coming for South Australian distillery Never Never, with Co-Founder, Sean Baxter telling The Shout: “We’re always incredibly humbled and excited when we pick up gold medals at the top global awards. It’s just another validation that the decision we made right from the outset to focus on concentrated flavour was the right one.

“We enter awards not just for validation, but also for independent feedback. It’s this consistency that is so crucial in making a quality, successful product.

“When we started our distillery, we wanted to make waves with a contemporary full-flavoured gin style but we never thought that we would have such a global impact in the short time that we have been in operation.”

Huge congratulations to all of Australia’s medal-winning spirits, it is great to see this country continue to produce some of the world’s best spirits and for those to be recognised on the global stage.