By James Atkinson
Fledgling Melbourne whisky distillery Starward looks set for greatness after taking first prize in the Single Malt category at the 2013 Australasian Whisky Awards only three months after launching.
Starward CEO and founder David Vitale said last week's win was particularly notable as several other entrants already had international recognition for their whiskies.
"To beat them in our first few months of sales is great – particularly as we know our whisky is only going to get better," he said.
Starward distillery is located in a refurbished maintenance hangar at Essendon Airport in Melbourne's Inner North. It began production in 2010 with the aim of creating a whisky that was disruptive in the global market place, and approachable to the growing number of whisky drinkers.
"We’ve taken the best of the old world and the best of the new in creating Starward. This philosophy enables us to innovate in areas that showcase Australia: our barley, barrels and climate and cast away the traditions and norms that might sound great from a marketing perspective, but typically have no bearing on the quality of the product," said Vitale.
Timboon Distillery, from Timboon in Victoria, took out the Cask Strength category as well as the overall title.
Last year's winner, the Overeem Port Cask from the Old Hobart Distillery in Tasmania was second in the single malt category. Lark, also from Hobart and the oldest distillery in Australia won bronze awards in both categories. Limeburners from Western Australia won silver in the Cask Strength category.
"It is fantastic to see not only a growing number of entries each year, but the quality of whisky being produced across several states," said organiser David Ligoff. "Most people associate Australian whisky with Tasmania, but these awards show that great whisky is being produced in Victoria and Western Australia as well."
2. Overeem Port Cask
3. Lark #326 Port Cask
1. Timboon Port Cask 64.8%
2. Limeburners Director's Cut M(96) 60%
3. Lark #395 Port Cask 63%
Timboon Port Cask 64.8%