Melbourne Royal® announces winners of the 2021 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards

Never Never Distilling Co wins Champion Australian Distiller and Victorian distillers win 9 out of 18 trophies. 

Melbourne Royal® announced the trophy winners of the 2021 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards at an impressive cocktail awards presentation held on Wednesday, 1 December in the Victoria Pavilion at Melbourne Showgrounds.

Eighteen trophies were presented with McLaren Vale’s Never Never Distilling Co. awarded Champion Australian Distiller, and Victorian distillers taking home half the top gongs, which is reflective of the extraordinary growth of distilling in Victoria, despite the challenges of COVID over the past 18 months.

This year a record 90 gold, 241 silver and 269 bronze medals were awarded from the 765 entries.

“The Australian Distilled Spirits Awards is regarded as Australia’s first and largest national award program that proudly recognises the long tradition of distilling in Australia, and the emergence of the new generation of spirits, liqueurs, aromatics and this year, vermouths;” said Melbourne Royal CEO, Brad Jenkins.

“Since being established by Melbourne Royal in 2015, the interest and growth of the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards has been extraordinary and this year there were a record 765 entries from 191 distilleries, which is a 20% increase on 2020.”

McLaren Vale’s Never Never Distilling Co not only won Champion Australian Distiller, but also Champion Navy Gin for its Juniper Freak Gin and Champion London Dry Gin for their Triple Juniper Export Strength Gin.

Eltham-based Naught Distilling won the Champion New World / Contemporary Gin, as well as the Champion Victorian Gin, both for their Naught Australian Dry Gin. Made by former professional basketball player and Melbourne local Chris Cameron, who is known for his fastidious, relentless and attentive approach to creating meticulously made gins.

Boatrocker Brewers and Distillers in Braeside has taken out the Champion Alternative Spirit award for its Boatrocker Coolship Rye, which is Boatrocker’s first foray into Rye Spirits, and aged in high char American Oak for ten months.

Dromana’s JimmyRum has won the Champion Victorian Distillery award. Created by former marine engineer James McPherson, who now prides himself on establishing Victoria’s first dedicated craft rum distillery, JimmyRum’s primary goal is to produce amazing rums that warm the soul. JimmyRum also took out the new trophy, Champion Cane Spirit, for its JimmyRum Silver.

Ivanhoe’s Imbue Distillery has picked up the Champion Other Gin for its Suburban Barrel Aged Gin created by four Melbourne experts with a combined 60 years of experience.

Somerville’s Chief’s Son has won Champion Australian Small Batch Spirit for its Cask Expression Release 4 Imperial Stout, an incredible marriage between a brewery and a distillery, using the old French oak barrel used to mature the stunning Mornington Peninsula Brewery’s ‘Russian Imperial Stout’, then used to house their boldest Single Malt Whisky.

Cap & Bells in North Melbourne took out Champion Aromatic for its Marionette Bitter Orange Curacao, as well as the Consistency of Excellence Medal, for their Marionette Dry Cassis, made from Tasmanian blackcurrants grown by father and son Rob and Richard Clark, who have dedicated 20 years to growing the best blackcurrants. This flavourful and distinct spirit has picked up Australian Distilled Spirits Awards gold medals for the last three years.

New South Wales-based distilleries took out four of the trophies, including renowned Archie Rose Distilling Co. in Rosebery for its Rye Malt Whisky, a truly unique whisky made from selectively sourced rare malted rye and the finest malted barley from progressive malt houses, which is paired with virgin American oak casks air-dried for 36 months and left to mature in the maritime air of coastal Sydney.

Marrickville’s Mobius Distilling Co. has received two awards, one for Champion Vodka for its 38 Special Vodka, which also recently won a Silver Medal at the 2021 Tasting Australia Spirit Awards. Their Moreau Apple Pie Liqueur took out the Champion Liqueur award, made with fresh Australian apple juice and select spices to taste like apple pie in a glass.

Regal Rogue has won the new trophy for Champion Vermouth, for its Regal Rogue Lively White, which is bursting with citrus and floral notes, marrying an Orange, NSW organic un-wooded Chardonnay with native lemon myrtle, desert limes, finger limes and native thyme with elderflower, lemongrass, grapefruit and chamomile.

South Australia’s Ginny Pig Distillery in Flagstaff Hill was awarded the trophy for the Champion Australian Micro Batch Spirit for their Botanic Gin. Ginny Pig is the brainchild of husband and wife team Craig and Bec, who spent a collective 50 years working in nursing but dreaming of something a little more creative.

St Agnes Distillery in Renmark has won Champion Brandy for St Agnes XO Imperial 20-year-old, a spirit that is more complex and pure than standard XO. The distillery took out the same award last year, and in 2018, 2017 and 2016.

Queensland’s Bundaberg received the Raymond B ‘Spike’ Dessert III Trophy for Champion Rum for its Master Distillers’ Collection – Small Batch Reserve.

Brad Jenkins adds: “The Australian Distilled Spirits Awards uniquely brings together accomplished experts in distilling, spirits retailing and writing to judge Australia’s best distilled spirits, liqueurs, and aromatics to provide producers with an essential benchmarking opportunity”.

“The growing prestige and reputation of the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards is testament to the value distillers place in being able to benchmark spirits, liqueurs and bitters against their peers. The valuable feedback distillers receive from judges inspires innovation and product development. Medal and trophy winners can leverage their success by displaying the Melbourne Royal seal of excellence on their packaging and marketing materials.”

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