The inaugural Australian Icons of Whisky Awards dinner, held at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Thursday 3 August, saw the nation’s top people, producers and retailers awarded for their contribution to whisky.
Following a process of local voting on industry nominees, finalists in sixteen categories were scrutinised by a judging panel from the Icons of Whisky team in London.
Two awards – Highly Commended and Winner – were presented in each group, with the 16 Australian winners now automatically entered to compete to be named best in the world in March 2018 at the World Whiskies Awards to be held in London.
New World Whisky Distillery (aka Starward) took home the award for Distiller of the Year; Sullivans Cove was named Craft Producer of the Year, and The McLaren Vale Distillery the Brand Innovator of the Year.
Great Southern Distillery’s Cameron Syme was named Distillery Manager of the Year, the company’s Ben Kagi also taking home the prize for Master Distiller/Master Blender of the Year.
In addition, a Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame award (presented in years only when warranted) to recognise outstanding contribution to the industry was presented to Gordon Broderick.
Gordon has recently retired, but over the past decades he has worked to support and grow whisky in Australia – primarily through his role as Executive Director of the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia.
The Icons of Whisky Awards will from here become an annual event judged on the performance and achievements over the previous 12 months.
The full Icons of Whisky Australian winner list (and highly commended runner-ups) is below:
Brand Innovator of the Year: The McLaren Vale Distillery; Highly Commended: New World Whisky
Craft Producer of the Year: Sullivans Cove Distillery; Highly Commended: Whipper Snapper Distillery
Distiller of the Year: New World Whisky; Highly Commended: Great Southern Distilling
Visitor Attraction of the Year: Hellyears Road Distillery; Highly Commended: Belgrove Distillery
Distillery Manager of the Year: Cameron Syme – Great Southern Distillery; Highly Commended: Patrick Maguire – Sullivans Cove
Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year: Sharon Dean – Hellyers Road; Highly Commended: John Rochfort – The McLaren Vale Distillery
Scotch Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year: Daniel Hutchins-Read – Glenrothes/Berry Bros; Highly Commended: Dan Woolley – The Exchange/CCA
World Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year: Joey Tai – Baranows Emporium; Highly Commended: Paul Slater – New World Whisky Distillery
Irish Whiskey Brand Ambassador of the Year: Kate Moran – Pernod Ricard; Highly Commended: Vincent McGrath – Rogue Wines
American Whiskey Brand Ambassador of the Year: Grant Shearon – Brown-Forman; Highly Commended: Michael Thomas – The Exchange/CCA
Master Distiller/Master Blender of the Year: Ben Kagi – Great Southern Distilling Company; Highly Commended: Sam Slaney – New World Whisky Distillery
Supermarket of the Year: Dan Murphys; Highly Commended: Vintage Cellars
Single Outlet Retailer of the Year: Casa De Vinos; Highly Commended: The Oak Barrel
Online Retailer of the Year: Nicks Wine Merchants; Highly Commended: Casa De Vinos
Multiple Outlets Retailer of the Year: Hurley Cellars; Highly Commended: Black Sheep Stores