Aussie drinks trade judges the year’s best spirits

Melbourne International Spirits Competition has announced its 2021 winners, with more than 200 submissions from around the world being assessed by judges remotely this year. 

What sets the Melbourne International Spirits Competition apart from other international beverage competitions is their “trade only” blind judging panel. The judges are retail store buyers, sommeliers, restaurant beverage directors, hoteliers, distributors, mixologists and importers from around Australia.

“We feel that these judges, whose livelihood rely upon their skill set, truly know what the consumer wants, as they receive on a daily basis the feedback from the consumer of what is good and what will sell,” the organisers explained.

The individual winners were:

Australia Brandy Distillery of the Year: Bass & Flinders Distillery

Australia Liqueur Distillery of the Year: Australian Boutique Spirits

Australia Rum of the Year: Croc Piss Clear

Non Alcohol Distillery of the Year: Lyre’s

Dominican Rum of the Year: Coles Armada Dark Rum

Japan Whiskey Producer of the Year: Amahghan World Malt

Tequila Distillery of the Year: Cierto

Reposado of the Year: Coles VIVIR Tequila Reposado

Bourbon Distillery of the Year: Garrison Brothers

Tennessee Whiskey Distillery of the Year: Uncle Nearest

USA Rum Distillery of the Year: Royal Hawaii Spirits Distillery

Gold medal winners


Amahagan World Malt Edition No.5 Sherry Wood finish

Garrison Brothers Cowboy

Garrison Brothers Small Batch

The Shin 15 Year Old Malt Whisky Mizunara Oak Finish

Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey


Baxter – Australian Crafted Vodka

Grainshaker Australian Vodka – Wheat


Coventry Estate Australian Botanical Gin 700mL

Devils Thumb Distillery Signature Dry Gin

Kangaroo Island Spirits Whisky Barrel Gin

Prohibition Liquor Co. Shiraz Barrel Age Gin

Slingsby Old Tom Gin

The Craft & Co Navy Strength Gin


Coles Armada Dark Rum

FNQ Spirits Croc Piss

RHS Royal Hawaii Spirits Honey Rum


Cierto Tequila Private Collection -Anejo

Cierto Tequila Private Collection – Blanco

Coles VIVIR Tequila Reposado


Distiller’s Selection Single Cask Brandy Ochre – Fine Brandy

Liqueurs & other

Geo Coffee Liqueur 500mL

Lyre’s Absinthe

Lyre’s Amaretti

Lyre’s Aperitif Rosso

Lyre’s Italian Orange

The Craft & Co Anise

Brisbane newcomer celebrates double medal win

Brisbane’s Idle Hour Vodka, established during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, cemented its place in the Australian spirit industry by taking out both Bronze and Silver in the Melbourne International Spirit Competition last week. 

The win comes just weeks after the brand secured national distribution with Craft Revolution and just shy of two months after being awarding Silver medals at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Idle Hour, which secured awards at the Melbourne Competition for both its filtered and unfiltered varieties of Rye-based vodka is making waves even in its infancy.

“Proud doesn’t begin to cover how we are feeling” said Co-Founder and Director Ewen Pettit. “To enter a field with so many heavy hitters and being awarded such recognition so early on is truly humbling.”

Distilled locally from locally sourced ingredients, the Idle Hour brand is now preparing to expand its range in coming weeks with a range of native inspired variations and RTD options.  

“This is only the beginning” said Pettit.

Click here to see all the medal winners.

Success! You're on the list.

Categories: Uncategorized