Melbourne Royal announces winners of the 2023 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards

Pictured: Champion Australian Distiller winners, Prohibition Liquor Co.

Pictured: Champion Australian Distiller winners, Prohibition Liquor Co.

Prohibition Liquor Co wins Champion Australian Distiller
Puss and Mew Distillery picks up Champion Victorian Distiller

Melbourne Royal® has announced the trophy winners of the 2023 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards at an impressive cocktail awards presentation held on Thursday 4 August in the Victoria Pavilion at Melbourne Showgrounds.

The 2023 Melbourne Royal Australian Distilled Spirits Awards attracted a record 970 entries from 246 exhibitors across 11 categories.

This year, 20 trophies were presented with South Australia’s Prohibition Liquor Co taking out Champion Australian Distiller. From humble beginnings in an inner-suburban backyard garage to becoming an Adelaide institution, Prohibition is now under the guidance of Head Distiller Hugh Lumsden.

Victorian distillers took home over a third of the top gongs this year, including Puss and Mew Distillery being awarded Champion Victorian Distiller presented by Drink Victorian. The Nunawading distillery was inspired by the legend of Captain Dudley Bradstreet who invented the world’s first liquor vending machine.

Best Victorian Gin presented by Agriculture Victoria went to Naught Distilling for their Naught Classic Dry Gin. The Eltham-based distillery took home the same award in 2022 with their Sangiovese Gin.

To further the success of Victorian spirits, Port Melbourne’s New World Whiskey Distillery was awarded Best Grain or Blended Whiskey, presented by Bintani with their Starward Two-Fold.

Reed & Co Distillery from Bright, Victoria took home Best New World / Contemporary Gin, presented by BevChain, for their Neo New World Dry Gin.

Taking out the Best Navy Gin was Nagambie Brewery & Distillery with their 3608 Navy Strength Gin and Best Other Gin went to Collingwood’s The Craft & Co Old Tom Gin from Gypsy Hub.

The Victorian winners continued with Seaford’s JimmyRum being awarded Best Cane Spirit, presented by Crafted ERP, with their JimmyRum Navy.

Best Alternative Spirit went to Act of Treason Greta from Top Shelf International in Campbellfield and Best Bitter was awarded to Mordialloc’s Saint Felix Distillery for their Bitter Citrus Aperitivo Aromatic Bitters.

Closely following the successes of Victorian distilleries was that of South Australia. Awarded for their Triple Juniper Export Strength Gin was the much-loved Never Never Distilling Co taking out Best London Dry Gin. Last year, Never Never was awarded Champion Australian Distiller for the third year in a row.

Best Single Malt Whiskey presented by Cryer Malt went to Fleurieu Distillery for The Hunting Of The Snark and Best Brandy was awarded to Renmark’s St Agnes Distillery for their St Agnes XO for the second year in a row.

Meanwhile, The Hills Distillery won Best Vermouth for 78 Degrees Rose Vermouth Semi-Dry.

New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory took home two awards each.

Best Fruit or Wine/ Grape Gin was awarded to Big River Distilling Co for their Syrah Gin and Local Spirit Group took out Best Flavoured Vodka, presented by Plasdene Glass-Pak, with the Local Spirit Caramel Vodka.

Coastal Cane Pure Single Rum from Winding Road Distilling Co was awarded the Raymond B 'Spike' Dessert III Trophy for Best Rum and Scylla Distilling Company took home the Best Liqueur for Scylla Raspberry Liqueur.

Tasmania’s Hartshorn Distillery took home the Best Pure/ Contemporary Vodka, also presented by Plasdene Glass-Pak, for their Hartshorn Distillery Sheep Whey Vodka.

The newest award to the program, Best Design, was awarded to Western Australia’s 30 Knots Spirits for their 30 Knots Southerly Gin.

Three Consistency of Excellence awards were presented on the night. Two went to Archie Rose Distilling for their Rye Malt Whiskey and Bone Dry Gin, while one went to Imperial Measure Distilling for their Ounce Gin Bold.

Melbourne Royal CEO, Brad Jenkins said: “The Australian Distilled Spirits Awards is regarded as Australia’s first and largest national awards program that proudly recognises the long tradition of distilling in Australia, and the emergence of the new generation of spirits.

“I congratulate all the medal and trophy winners in the 2023 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards. The winners now have a unique and valuable opportunity to leverage their success and market medal-winning products using the Melbourne Royal seal of excellence on product and for marketing purposes to increase sales.”

Over 50 judges assembled at Melbourne Showgrounds to critique and provide commentary on each of the entries. The panel was led by head judge Shaun Byrne, a well-known and respected figure in the Australian spirits industry, who brought more than 20 years of experience in hospitality, coupled with his extensive judging experience, to the role.

Head Judge Shaun Byrne (Maidenii Vermouth and Marionette Liqueurs) said: “To be asked to lead the judging as the Head Judge is a great honour and carries a weight of responsibility to ensure that entrants are receiving fair and valuable feedback and appropriate recognition of their products.

“As a spirit producer, the Melbourne Royal Australian Distilled Spirits Awards are invaluable in receiving feedback on upcoming new products. The innovation we have seen in this year’s Awards is exciting and shows the strength and quality of this industry nation-wide.”

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