The accolades keep coming for Australian spirits, with three Australian distilleries shortlisted for IWSC Producer of the Year in their categories.
The Producer of the Year award recognises a distillery whose products have excelled in competition thus far and has led its category in terms of innovation and quality throughout the year.
Continuing the trend of Australian gin impressing on the international stage, both Four Pillars and Kangaroo Island Distillery have been shortlisted for International Gin Producer of the Year. This is the fourth time on the shortlist for Four Pillars, having previously won the award in 2019 and 2020. Kangaroo Island makes the shortlist for the third time. They are up against two-time Swedish winner Herno.
At this year’s IWSC Four Pillars received two Outstanding Gold medals for its Bloody UnderHill Vineyard Shiraz Gin in the flavoured gin category, and S36 Gin in cask finish. The judges’ notes for the Bloody UnderHill Shiraz gin said it was “a lusciously bold expressive gin supported by an unyielding backbone of rippling Shiraz.”
For the Single Cask S36, the judges found it “charmingly suave with a gloriously robust juniper heart.”
Distiller, Cam Mackenzie told The Shout: “We were pretty bloody excited to hear the news that we were shortlisted for International Gin Producer of the Year for the fourth time running. We couldn’t be prouder of the whole team at Four Pillars that make this happen, particularly year on year.
“To have three Aussie brands up for the award just shows that we are producing some incredibly innovative stuff down here, and we’re happy to be part of that crew putting Aussie gin on the map. Stu and I will be in London regardless of the outcome and look forward to a stellar night. Kilts and all!”
Kangaroo Island Spirits O Gin won Oustanding Gold for contemporary gin, with judges describing the gin as “exotic and alluring with pears, apricots, beautiful acacia honey and a sweet smokiness displaying bramble jelly and soft brown sugar spice on the velvety finish.”
Kangaroo Island Distillery General Manager, Kylie Bamfield told The Shout: “We are ecstatic to be nominated again and we’re really hopeful that we get finally get up and grasp the Holy Grail.
“This nomination is a really good indication of how well the distillery is doing repeatedly and just shows that the business is still punching above its weight. We’re still reasonably small scale and we still operate out of a small shed and to be recognised globally on this kind of level is really exciting. We’ve just got everything crossed that we’ll walk away with the prize this year.”
Shortlisted for the International Vodka Producer of the Year award is Top Shelf International’s Grainshaker Vodka, up against White Claw and Nordic company Anora Plc.
Grainshaker’s Australian Wheat Vodka won Outstanding Gold in the IWSC category of contemporary vodka and has the accolade of being the only Australian vodka to take home a gold medal. The judges said the Australian Wheat Vodka was “light in body and gently warming. The palate shows great purity. Fresh citrus notes provides lift and balance amid the creamy mouthfeel.”
Top Shelf CEO Trent Fraser told The Shout: “We’re absolutely stoked to get recognised by the IWSC and have our Aussie vodka make the cut for the Vodka Producer Trophy. Australia grows some of the best grains out there, and our team of passionate distillers work hard to turn them into a top-notch spirit.
“It’s awesome to see our mates at Four Pillars and Kangaroo Island get shortlisted in gin. We’re pumped to represent the Aussie spirits scene together and show the world what we’re made of. Now our little emu will strut its stuff on the world stage.”
All three producers have been recognised for their quality in this year’s awards scene, bringing international attention to the exemplary quality of Australian spirits. As the world’s longest-running, largest and most recognised drinks competition, an IWSC win is a significant achievement. The winners will be announced on October 19 at the IWSC gala dinner in London.