By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier

Riding the wave or recognition for Tasmanian distillers, artisan brand William McHenry & Sons was recently awarded a gold medal at the prestigious American SIP awards in Dana Beach, California.

The 100-member judging panel of the Spirits International Prestige (SIP) event, which proclaims its mission to “cut to the core of public opinion”, tasted its way through a record 403 beverages across 28 categories. 

William McHenry, based in the apple isle’s idyllic Port Arthur, took the gold medal for its London Dry Gin, and is also the only distiller in Australia producing a Sloe Gin.

The distiller has also recently signed with Sydney-based “craft distiller” distributor, Nip Of Courage (NOC), which likens the global trend toward boutique and small-batch spirits to the evolution of craft beer in recent years. (continues below)

“Craft spirits are not for all pubs – just like craft beer isn’t for all pubs,” NOC sales & marketing manager Kathleen Davies told TheShout.

“Most pubs these days can offer a lovely boutique wine or unique craft beer to customers who want to trade up, but an option for a unique spirit isn’t considered in most cases. 

“There are now approximately 50 craft distilleries in Australia, and that number is growing. The chains are introducing them, but largely the whole craft spirits movement in Australia is under-developed.”

NOC appears to have developed a knack for picking the winners, with several of its stable brands enjoying widespread acclaim.

Bathurst’s Stone Pine Distillery earned silver in the uber-competitive London Dry Gin category in the UK spirit awards, and Queensland’s Mt Uncle Distillery has received gongs for its rum, vodka, whisky and gin across a number of events.

Also, Tasmania’s Belgrove Distillery – the “greenest distillery in the world” and one of only three globally to boast ‘Paddock to Bottle’ – will soon release a world-first ‘100% Peated Rye’.

The Shout Team

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

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