Swan Valley distillery Old Young’s has been named the Craft Producer of the Year and Brand Innovator of the Year at The Icons of Gin awards in London overnight, while Four Pillars has also picked three big awards.

The Old Young’s win is the first time an Australian distillery has ever won Craft Producer of the Year, and only the second time an Australian distiller has won Brand Innovator of the year – Four Pillars winning the category in 2022.

This year Four Pillars’ Cameron Mackenzie was named Master Distiller of the Year, with the distillery named Visitor Attraction of the Year and Sustainable Distillery of the Year.

Old Young’s Founder James Young said: “Winning just one trophy at The Icon of Gin Awards would be a career bucket list item – but two, wow.

“When you look at the past winners of these two awards, it’s a who’s who of the world’s most respected brands, selling in dozens of countries, and selling hundreds of thousands of bottles a year. Brands like Adnams in the UK, Citadelle from France, Australia’s Four Pillars, Kyoto gin from Japan, Audemus from France, and the UK’s Warner’s Distillery. It’s humbling to now be mentioned in the same sentence.

“Central to winning this award is our signature gin, Old Young’s 1829 Gin – I’m like a proud father whose child has just won an Oscar.  The gin’s base is Tuscan juniper berries, with the Swan Valley and surrounds offering some of the finest botanicals I’ve seen. which give 1829 its balance between bright citrus characters and savoury spice.

“Winning Brand Innovator of the year is equally important – when the pandemic hit, I decided to launch Australia’s most unique gin subscription service, The Juniper Society. It’s like Netflix – but Gin. Each month you get a brand new, never to be repeated gin delivered to your door for $59. We’ve released 30 editions so far, and these allow my creative side to run wild – it’s the reason why I believe I have the best job in the world.

“Most other distillers pump out the same gin day in day out – not us. When it comes to innovation and crafting exceptional gins with a difference – we are match fit.”

Four Pillars’ Mackenzie said: “That sure is a way to start the day. You are only as good as the people around you and awards like this are a wonderful reflection of our incredibly talented and hard-working team. From distilling to packaging and marketing to hospitality – Stu, Matt and I are surrounded by absolute rockstars.

“It’s brilliant to see the team recognised for their efforts in sustainability which has been a big focus for the last few years. Our investment in this area is paying off immeasurably. We have an amazing hospitality team that have stuck with us through what you could only call interesting times. Their passion and knowledge is infectious and the entire team deserves such recognition.”

The awards have come at a great time for Old Young’s after James Young launched a share offer last week, allowing lovers of Aussie craft spirits to become part-owners in his business.

The equity crowdfunding raise will be managed by Birchal, and the money raised will be used to fast track the company’s expansion plans and plan what James describes as a ‘Cathedral of Gin’. This includes hiring an east coast sales team to help infiltrate leading bars and bottle shops, as well as building international export markets.

In addition Young is already working with architects on plans to rebuild the distillery as he looks to triple production capacity by bringing online a 500L next generation still, as well as an automatic bottling line that can handle over 250,000 bottles per year.

Young said: “Not long ago we were spit-balling a catchy phrase to help draw in potential investors: ‘become part-owner in the world’s best gin distillery’. At the time this was just a throw away line.  Never in our wildest dreams could we imagine this would happen so soon.”

Andy Young

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

Leave a comment

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