By Andy Young

Australian distillers have enjoyed a strong showing at the San Francisco Spirits Competition with the Adelaide Hills Distillery leading the way with a Best in Class award for its apéritif, The Italian.

The Italian Bitter Orange was named as the Best Apéritif at the competition and co-owner Toby Kline said the award is recognition for the whole of Australia’s craft distilling movement.

“It is really exciting, not just for ourselves but for the craft distillation movement and spirits movement in Australia,” Kline told TheShout.

“We are a tight knit community and to see the quality that is coming out of Australia is fantastic. For us it is great recognition that the program we have of sourcing and utilising Australian natives in a lot of our spirits is garnering worldwide acclaim.”

Although inspired by an Italian distiller The Italian utilises Riverland oranges, rye berries, native thyme and many other native Australian ingredients and Kline said that makes the win even more special.

“It’s really exciting that something out of our own backyard has been globally recognised.”

And in terms of what he thinks has led to The Italian’s success, Kline said it stems from the key focuses of the distillery.

“We are about intensity and balance, so for us it is about extracting the most intense and the most defining flavour profiles, but then making sure that when they are blended or created they are all kept in balance. So for us it is about living to those words and making sure we deliver them in the final product.”

It proved to be a successful competition for Australian distillers with over 90 medals being awarded to various brands and products from this country.

Although The Italian was the only Best in Class win, there were other notable awards with Limeburners, Twenty Third Street, St Agnes, The West Winds, Poltergeist and Adelaide Hills all being awarded Double Gold medals by the judges.

With over 2200 spirits blind tasted by 45 judges the San Francisco Spirits Competition is widely viewed as one of the most significant spirits competitions and Kline said he did expect sales to increase as a result of the win.

“These wins definitely bring a boost in sales, but when our gin won the American Distilling Institute Award we sold out of that very quickly. But rather than lashing out more gin just to sell it we told people that ‘sorry out and we’re not going to compromise the quality or experience by making it any faster’.”

A full list of all Australia's winning spirits can be found on the San Francisco Spirits Competition website.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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