The results are in for the 2021 International Wine and Spirits Competition in London, and Australian gins have scored some big wins.

IWSC Gin Judges included Master Distiller of Beefeater, Desmond Payne OBE; and the founder of the Gin Foundry (now Spirits Society), Olivier Ward, with the judging panels overseen by esteemed gin expert, David T Smith. The judges scored over 1000 gins from 86 countries, with around 60 per cent of entries receiving some kind of medal, ranging from bronze up to the highest accolade of gold outstanding.

Karu Distillery’s Lightning Gin scored a Gold Outstanding, meaning it was awarded between 98 and 100 points, an amazing effort with the gin being described as “an outstanding spirit with a naturally exceptional balance, complexity and power. An example that immediately sets itself apart from others in the category”.

The judges said: “Layered and compelling, juniper and spice run alongside other botanicals. Great mouthfeel with citrus at the fore and good botanical boldness. With added water, the floral parts open up a lot with waves of spice.”

The win is particularly special for Karu’s owners Nick and Ally Ayres who had to evacuate their distillery in January 2020 because of bushfires and if the pandemic wasn’t enough their distillery was completely cut off in March 2021 because of flooding.

Overall Australian Gin Distillers performed well, achieving 96 medals, up from 64 in 2020. These include six Gold medals (down four from 2020) 50 Silvers (up 15 from 2020) and 40 Bronze medals (up 21 from 2020).

Gin Queen, Caroline Ashford, told The Shout: “This is a great result for the Australian gin industry and reflects the hard work that distillers are putting in to their products. In the early 2010’s the idea of Australia making gins that would be consumed globally seemed preposterous and yet every year Aussies increase their medal tally.

“Australian gins offer the global market something different from the traditional gin. Whether it’s combining gin and grapes like Four Pillars Shiraz gin or using Indigenous ingredients like Seven Seasons Green Ant gin, Australian Gin Distillers continue to innovate and so attracting more consumers to the category.”

As well as Karu, the other gold medal winners were:

  • Old Young’s Common Gin (WA)
  • Seppeltsfield Road Distillers 2020 Barossa Shiraz Gin (SA)
  • Never Never Distilling Argo Gin (SA)
  • Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin (VIC)
  • Mountain Distilling Company Mountain Gin (VIC)

In the domestic battle Victoria just pipped South Australia to the post with 22 medals to SA’s 21. Next up came New South Wales with 12, followed by Western Australia with nine medals, Queensland and Tasmania with eight apiece and one for the Northern Territory.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of TheShout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both TheShout and Bars and Clubs.

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