The Australian distilling industry has triumphed at the Spirits Business Awards 2020 by taking out six trophies, with three of them going to Archie Rose Distilling.
Launched in 2019, the aim of the awards was to celebrate the “titanic workforce” that makes up the spirits industry. Spirits Business noted that “in a year that has presented immeasurable challenges for the trade, it felt all the more important to champion the brilliant work that goes on across the sector”.
The entries were divided into five categories: Retail and Marketing, Sustainability and Innovation, Tourism, Products, and People. The results are were broadcast on YouTube on December 1.
Archie Rose Distilling Company Master Distiller Dave Withers (above) won Distiller of the Year. The judges said he had “proven his talents in multiple spirits categories”, including whisky, vodka, gin, rum and a smattering of limited edition bottlings. He has turned smoke-tainted grapes into eaux-de-vie, and will now “work to push boundaries further” at the distillery’s second site in Sydney.
Additionally, the Young Achiever of the Year Award went to Archie Edwards (above) at Archie Rose Distilling Company. He was described as an “entrepreneur who has accomplished a significant amount in a short timeframe”. From founding a distillery when he was just 25 to being instrumental in building Australia’s distilling reputation worldwide, Archie Edwards “has proven that he is an industry trailblazer”.
And Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit won the Innovation in Production Award. Produced by Australia’s Archie Rose Distilling Company, the judges were “unanimously taken aback by the producer’s quick-thinking” that not only ensured grapes tainted by the 2019/20 Australian bushfires did not go to waste, but guaranteed local growers were supported through the crisis.
The distiller noted: “It’s always an honour to be recognised on a global scale, so we’re over the moon to have taken out three awards at The Spirits Business Awards in London last night–we couldn’t think of a better way to round out the year.”
Edwards added: “While it’s a real honour for Dave and I to receive our awards we’re most excited to receive the Innovation In Production Award for our Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit, for which we purchased over 50 tonnes of smoke-tainted grapes from bushfire affected growers who were looking at a total harvest loss after the devastating 2020 Australian bushfires.”
The judges chose to give a special commendation to Cape Byron Distillery in the Distillery Sustainability Award category for achieving some “incredible milestones”, including planting more than 35,000 rainforest trees.
Distributor Nip of Courage won the Ethical Award for stepping up to support distilleries that were affected by the Australian bushfires at the start of 2020, “extending a much-needed helping hand to others in a time of huge suffering”.
Lyre’s was runner up in the Best New Product category. The judges liked how the non-alcoholic ‘spirit’ brand’s broad portfolio “would give consumers the chance to play around and make cocktails without alcohol”.