A triumphant showing saw Australia’s gin distillers pick up six major honours at the 2022 Gin Magazine awards, held virtually on February 24.
The Gin Magazine awards are a three-in-one, containing the World Gin Awards, Icons of Gin and the Gin Hall of Fame. Aussie brands recognised in this year’s awards included Four Pillars, Never Never Distilling Co, Distillery Botanica and industry newcomers, Devil’s Thumb Distillery. Highly commended mentions also went to Cape Byron Distillery and Archie Rose Distilling.
Four Pillars scooped up both the Brand Innovator and Distiller of the Year awards, with the distillery’s Co-Founder, Stuart Gregor, describing the wins as: “A huge surprise and frankly a great delight.
“To win one would have been fantastic, but to win both is extraordinary and very humbling. I think they are also both great awards as they go to the heart of what Four Pillars is about,” Gregor added.
“The Distiller of the Year is an award that recognises a portfolio of gins, not just a single gin, and the Brand Innovator award shows that we are recognised for continuing to be restless, continuing trying new things and evolving and never sitting still.”
“The thing that sets us apart I guess is a relentless pursuit of awesomeness. We never release a gin or a Made from Gin product or a tea-towel unless we think its bloody awesome. We always strive to be ethical and generous and good citizens of the gin world who others look to with respect.”
And Gregor was quick to recognise the successes of Four Pillar’s fellow Australian gin-makers: “We also are very proud of our Australian roots and we love the fact that a few other great Aussie distilleries were recognised alongside us overnight.”
One such producer is Devil’s Thumb Distillery in Far North Queensland, which was awarded World’s Best Navy Gin.
For Co-Founder and Distiller, Mark Norman, this award represented a massive win for a distillery that is only around a year old.
“It’s quite a big award for a young distillery, it hasn’t properly sunk in just yet,” Norman told The Shout.
“I think I checked the website about 10 times to make sure I was right this morning.”
Norman believes it is production techniques, including an extended steep for key botanicals, vapour infusions, careful dilution and resting procedures, that gave his gin a cutting edge.
“It allows a lot of different layers to come through in the spirit, and you can get individual flavours coming through. It’s not just one thing that punches you in the face,” Norman concluded.
Another big winner at the event was South Australia’s Never Never Distilling Co., awarded the coveted title of World’s Best London Dry Gin for the Triple Juniper Gin Export Strength, while the distillery’s Tim Boast was named Master Distiller of the Year.
“The World Gin Awards are one of the best spirit competitions in the world. London Dry Gin is the most consumed category in the world so it feels pretty amazing to be considered on top of that competitive heap,” Boast said.
“As a brand we strive to consistently create gin of the highest quality. These awards not only provide validation to my team, but to the thousands of gin enthusiasts in Australia that we make great juice.”
Boast was also delighted to be named Master Distiller of the Year, and said: “If the flurry of very late-night messages that continued well into the early morning was anything to go by, it was an exciting moment for the whole team.”
And of Never Never’s compatriot distilleries, Four Pillars was singled out for praise by Boast.
“Four Pillars have always been an open book when it comes to supporting the small distilleries out there, us included,” he said.
“They certainly have been the pace setters in the Australian market. Now it’s our job to catch up.”
For Cape Byron Distillery, which was recognised with a Highly Commended in the Sustainable Distillery of the Year category, awards like these help Australian distilleries on the pursuit of greatness, as an entire industry. CEO and Co-founder Eddie Brook noted this as especially true when it comes to sustainability measures.
“As a distillery, we take so much pride in the work we do. To be recognised through various awards for the quality and taste are so important to us, but to be awarded for our sustainability practice is extra special to us. Sustainability is at the heart of our business and our entire team are so connected and passionate about having a positive impact to our community and environment,” Brook said.
“There are so many incredible distilleries in Australia doing great things from a sustainability front. The more distilleries seek to do things better, measure their impact, ask ‘if that is the best practice’, network, share and implement best practice we could see the Australian distilling industry become a global leader in sustainable practice.”
Such great results on the world stage means great things for Australia’s gin industry as a whole, according to The Gin Queen, Caroline Ashford.
“It firmly establishes us as a serious gin nation, up there with the UK. This creates an enormous sense of pride within an industry that faces stiff competition from imports and very high excise rates,” Ashford said.
The number of unique ingredients available in Australia is one element that Ashford sees as contributing to our local gins’ successes, and this is something that is predicted to continue.
“With the number of distilleries growing at pace, we are going to see more hyper-local brands focusing on botanicals that they can forage in their immediate surrounds, and as part of this, more distilleries are becoming hospitality venues in their own right with outstanding bar programs (Naught gin, Four Pillars Gin Lab and Patient Wolf for example), encouraging locals in to drink, eat and stay a while rather than doing tours and tastings,” Ashford said.
The full list of Aussie winners at the Gin Magazine Awards is below:
- Brand Innovator of the Year, Distiller of the Year: Four Pillars
- Master Distiller of the Year: Tim Boast, Never Never Distilling Co.
- World’s Best London Dry Gin: Never Never Distilling Co. – Triple Juniper Gin Export Strength
- World’s Best Navy Gin: Devil’s Thumb Distillery – Navy Strength Gin
- Hall Of Fame Inductee: Philip Moore, Distillery Botanica
- Highly Commended Sustainable Distillery of the Year: Cape Byron Distillery
- Highly Commended Master Distiller of the Year: Dave Withers, Archie Rose Distilling