The global reputation of Australia’s spirit producers continues to climb as three of the countries distilleries have been shortlisted by the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) for its annual Spirit Producer Awards.
In August the 2020 IWSC results were published, with Australia scoring a highly respectable 94 medals, including 12 gold. The IWSC’s experts have now analysed all the 2020 results, looking at producers’ medals, scores and other achievements, in order to find the top distilleries across key categories, including worldwide gin, vodka and whisky.
“Producer trophies are the pinnacle of achievement”, said IWSC head of tastings Pip Mortimer. “They reward the overall portfolio, ethos and achievement of companies that enter the IWSC.”
From Australia both Four Pillars and Kangaroo Island Spirits (KIS) have been nominated for International Gin Producer of the Year, while Lark Distillery is nominated for Worldwide Whiskey Producer of the Year.
Four Pillars won the IWSC’s International Gin Producer of the Year award last year, and Four Pillars Distiller and Co-Founder Cameron Mackenzie said it was amazing to be in the running again in 2020.
“To win it this year would be pretty incredible, considering we made all these plans to take the 2019 trophy on a global tour and so far, it has made it no further than Sydney, we haven’t even got it to Queensland,” Mackenzie said.
“To win this trophy once was obviously a life highlight, to win it a second time would frankly be beyond belief – I’m pretty sure I’d have to retire.
“This nomination is a tribute to our entire team, however we cannot understate the immense contribution of the guys in the shed actually making the stuff worth drinking, and worth talking about.”
KIS Founder and Brand Ambassador Jon Lark is optimistic the distillery can pip Four Pillars to the title this year.
“This is our third consecutive nomination and our gins are the best they’ve ever been so I’m confident that it’s our turn to win this year. Third time lucky,” Lark said.
“The IWSC is the ‘Oscars’ of spirit competitions and winning this award would be one of the highest honours we could receive. It would be recognition for all our hard work over the past 16 years and will put Kangaroo Island on a world stage,” he said.
After a successful showing in the IWSC results, Lark Distilling Co’s Managing Director Geoff Bainbridge, was understandably delighted with the distillery’s nomination as one of the world’s best whisky producers.
“It is an incredible achievement for a little distillery at the bottom of the world to step onto the global stage and bring home two golds, five silvers and the coveted nomination for Worldwide Whisky Producer of the Year,” he said.
“We are immensely proud of the quality of product we produce here in Tasmania and are honoured to be recognised by the global industry and the International Whiskey and Spirits Competition in 2020.”
Lark Distilling Co. founder and global ambassador Bill Lark added: “What an amazing and humbling honour to be nominated as one of the top four whisky distilleries in the world.
“This means a tremendous amount to myself and Lyn as we started Lark Distillery with only a dream to see if we could make a world class whisky here in Tasmania.
“To win this award would be a salute to the worldwide families of distilleries who have inspired us and helped us from day one, and it is also well deserved recognition of the passion and dedication to our dream by the wonderful team at Lark Distillery over the last 28 years.”
The IWSC Spirit Producers of the Year will be announced in the UK on 18 November.