Australia’s Icons of Whisky for 2019 revealed

The second-ever Australian Icons of Whisky Awards dinner was held in Adelaide earlier this week, recognising the nation’s top people, bars, producers and retailers for their contribution to the whisky industry.

Two awards – Highly Commended and Winner – were presented in each award category, following a process of local voting and the deliberation of a judging panel from the Icons of Whisky team in London.

Patrick Maguire, Head Distiller at Sullivans Cove, was inducted into the global Icons of Whisky Hall of Fame, one of the whisky world’s top honours.

Great Southern Distilling Company took home the award for Distiller of the Year; Belgrove Distillery was named Craft Producer of the Year, and New World Whisky Distillery (AKA Starward) the Brand Innovator of the Year.

Hellyers Road Distillery’s Mark Littler took home the award for Master Distiller/Master Blender of the Year and Distillery Manager of the Year was awarded to John Rochfort from McLaren Vale Distillery.

A new addition to the Australian Icons of Whisky Awards this year was the Whisky Bars category. Big winners here were The Baxter Inn (taking home Bar of the Year); Speakeasy Group (which won Bar Group of the Year) and Grain Bar (who took out the Hotel Bar of the Year category).

The full Icons of Whisky Australian winner list (and highly commended runner-ups) is below:


Distiller of the Year: Great Southern Distilling Company; Highly Commended: Sullivans Cove Distillery

Brand Innovator of the Year: New World Whisky Distillery; Highly Commended: Belgrove Distillery

Craft Producer of the Year: Belgrove Distillery; Highly Commended: Tin Shed Distillery

Visitor Attraction of the Year: New World Whisky Distillery; Highly Commended: Hellyers Road Distillery


Bar of the Year: The Baxter Inn; Highly Commended: Websters Bar

Hotel Bar of the Year: Grain Bar (Four Seasons Hotel Sydney); Highly Commended: Capitol Bar & Grill (QT Canberra)

Bar Group of the Year: Speakeasy Group; Highly Commended: Merivale


Master Distiller/Master Blender of the Year: Mark Littler (Hellyers Road Distillery); Highly Commended: Heather Tillot (Sullivans Cove Distillery)

Distillery Manager of the Year: John Rochfort (McLaren Vale Distillery); Highly Commended: Peter Bignell (Belgrove Distillery)

Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year: Barry Deimos (Whipper Snapper Distillery); Highly Commended: Emma Alessandrini (Old Kempton Distillery)

Scotch Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year: Mark Hickey (Spirits Platform); Highly Commended: Ross Blainey (The Balvenie)

World Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year: Paul Slated (New World Whisky Distillery, Starward); Highly Commended: Sneha Rao (Paul John Single Malts)

Irish Whiskey Brand Ambassador of the Year: Martin Lynch (Teeling); Highly Commended: Scott Farrow (Wonderland Drinks)

American Whiskey Brand Ambassador of the Year: Daniele Pirotta (Wild Turkey); Highly Commended: Grant Shearon (Brown Forman)


Supermarket of the Year: Dan Murphy’s; Highly Commended: Vintage Cellars

Single Outlet Retailer of the Year: The Oak Barrel; Highly Commended: Casa De Vinos

Online Retailer of the Year: Nick’s Wine Merchants; Highly Commended: Harvest Liquor

Multiple Outlet Retailer of the Year: Star Liquor; Highly Commended: Chambers Cellars

Travel Retailer of the Year: Heinemann Tax & Duty Free (Sydney); Highly Commended: Aelia (Adelaide)

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