Australia’s best distillery for 2023

South Australia’s Prohibition Liquor Co has taken out Champion Australian Distiller at Melbourne Royal’s 2023 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards.

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.

Prohibition opened the doors to its distillery in 2017, featuring a 900L copper pot still called ‘Mary’. A few years later the venue expanded with the opening of Bootleg Coffee Co and Next Door cocktail bar. 

“We’re super proud to have taken out Champion Australian Distiller at Melbourne Royal Australian Distilled Spirit Awards in Melbourne,” the distillery said.

“It is the pinnacle of our industry in Australia with over 900 entries. Proud to collect four Gold medals for all four gins entered, including our brand new Shiraz Field Blend Gin. Congratulations to all of the winners and a huge thank you to all of the judges and the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards team.”

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

Port Melbourne’s New World Whiskey Distillery was awarded Best Grain or Blended Whiskey for its Starward Two-Fold.

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

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

Seaford’s JimmyRum was awarded Best Cane Spirit for its JimmyRum Navy. Best Alternative Spirit went to Act of Treason Greta from Top Shelf International and Best Bitter was awarded to Mordialloc’s Saint Felix Distillery for its Bitter Citrus Aperitivo Aromatic Bitters.

Awarded for its Triple Juniper Export Strength Gin was the much-loved Never Never Distilling Co taking out Best London Dry Gin.

Best Single Malt Whiskey 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. Best Fruit or Wine/Grape Gin was awarded to Big River Distilling Co for its Syrah Gin and Local Spirit Group took out Best Flavoured Vodka 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 for the Hartshorn Distillery Sheep Whey Vodka.

Best Design was awarded to Western Australia’s 30 Knots Spirits for their 30 Knots Southerly Gin.

Australia’s most consistently excellent distillers

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

Archie Rose founder Will Edwards said the awards were the culmination of almost a decades work of effort and triumphs spanning across 2021, 2022 and 2023. He noted that Archie Rose’s Rye Malt Whisky and Bone Dry Gin have consistently impressed and reaffirmed their leadership in the distilled spirits realm.

“Picking up gold or master medals across the gin, rum single malt whisky and rye whiskey categories, speak to who we are as a distilling company and the breadth of expertise of our team,” he said. 

“We are committed to designing one of the most innovative distilleries in the world, to be able to showcase Australia’s incredible ingredients, we feel extremely proud to be acknowledged”.

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.”

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Women of Australian Distilling holds its first mixer

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