On Wednesday 25 October the 2023 Australian Liquor Industry Awards celebrated the leading operators, venues and products of the industry, both on- and off-premise.

Held at The Star Event Centre in Sydney, and hosted by Australian Hotelier, TheShout, Bars and Clubs and National Liquor News, the awards ceremony was attended by 530 members of the liquor industry. The theme of the night was Music Icons, with many attendees coming as musical superstars like Prince, David Bowie, Sia, Amy Winehouse, The Spice Girls and more.

“ALIA 2023, with its Music Icons theme, was an absolute hit, another great celebration of the liquor industry, and a welcome opportunity to share in some fun with close friends and colleagues. This year’s networking bars were exceptional, the entertainment was on point and there was a terrific showing for Australian spirits among the awards,” stated Paul Wootton, managing director of Food and Beverage Media.

“I’d like to congratulate all the award winners and thank everyone who attended for making ALIA once again the highlight of the drinks industry’s calendar.”

Harbord Hotel in Freshwater was named Hotel of the Year.

The night kicked off with off-premise winners covering all drinks categories, plus bottleshops and banner groups. The second half of the night was dedicated to the on-premise, with awards presented to pubs, bars, beverages, and operators.

There were more than 25 awards handed out to the on-premise.  Major pub winners included the Harbord Hotel, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, which took out Hotel of the Year. Venue manager Owen Hughes was thrilled with the accolade.

“Thanks to my team, go Harbord! I’m absolutely gobsmacked. This is a huge night for the industry and to take out Hotel of the Year is fantastic. We’re super stoked and have so much gratitude for everybody who has been a part of it over the last year. It’s just amazing.”

Odd Culture Group was named Hotel Group Operator of the Year, having put live music and top-quality F&B front and centre at their venues in the past year.

“Pubs are so important to the fabric of our hospitality landscape in Australia. Our pubs have no pokies, so we see doing food and beverage well and with authenticity, and preserving our pubs as places where all are welcome, as of the utmost importance,” stated Odd Culture Group CEO James Thorpe.

“It’s so great to be recognised among so many great operators, and to take out the award last night was a thrill.”

Odd Culture Group took out Hotel Group Operator of the Year.

Publican of the Year was awarded to David Gregory of Coogee Bay Hotel – in the same year that the iconic Sydney pub is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Gregory was humble in his acceptance, thanking his team and the industry for the award.

In the on-premise liquor categories, Best On-Premise Spirit was awarded to 1800 Tequila, with Proximo Spirits managing director Justin Casey thanking the brand’s  on-premise venue partners.

“It’s fantastic to see the 1800 Tequila brand recognised as a leader within the spirits and tequila categories here in Australia, something made possible through the dedication of our team here at Proximo and, equally, through the wonderful way our on-premise partners showcase 1800 Tequila via inspiring drinks and their dedication to creating great on-premise experiences.”

Publican of the Year, David Gregory (right) from Coogee Bay Hotel.

For the last major on-premise award of the night, Asahi Beverages took out On-Premise Supplier of the Year. CUB Premium Beverages GM, Michael Ritoli, accepted the award, thanking everyone in the Asahi team for their hard work within the on-premise.

“It’s fantastic to win this award, the team do such a great job. The on-premise team put so much effort into making sure we deliver what our customers need and hear what our customers require to run their businesses. The team does a fantastic job in delivering what they do to the on-premise.”

Australian Hotelier congratulates all the winners and finalists at the 2023 Australian Liquor Industry Awards for continuing to make the industry a dynamic one.

The full list of on-premise winners can be viewed below.

Best New Venue or Concept: Le Foote, NSW

Best New Bar: El Primo Sanchez, NSW

Best Sports Venue: Bella Vista Hotel, NSW

Best Gaming Venue: Eatons Hill Hotel, NSW

Best Food Menu: Bar Margaux, Victoria

Best Live Music Venue: Ramblin’ Rascal, NSW

Best Bar Owner: Pasan Wijesena, Earl’s Juke Joint, NSW

Best Bar Team: Caretaker’s Cottage, Victoria

Best NOLO Product: Heaps Normal XPA

Best Mixer: Fever-Tree

Best Draught Product: Stone & Wood Pacific Ale

Best On-Premise Spirit: 1800 Tequila

Best Beer Venue: Bitter Phew, NSW

Best Wine List: Bar Liberty, Victoria

Best Cocktail List: The Everleigh, Victoria

Best Gin Bar: The Barber Shop, NSW

Best Rum Bar: The Lobo

Best Tequila Bar: Cantina OK!, NSW

Best Whisky Bar: Whisky + Alement, Victoria

Best Brand Ambassador: Krystal Hart, Campari


Best Bartender: Mille Tang, The Gresham

                              Sarah Mycock, Old Mates Place

Best Publican: David Gregory, Coogee Bay Hotel

Best Bar: The Baxter Inn

Best Hotel: Harbord Hotel

Best Bar Group Operator: Swillhouse

Best Hotel Group Operator: Odd Culture Group

Best On-Premise Supplier: Asahi Beverages

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *