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Glasses raised to best of spirits

Glasses raised to best of spirits at inaugural NZ Spirits Awards

The best of the best in New Zealand’s spirits have been announced in the very first New Zealand Spirits Awards.

The inaugural Awards, hosted by industry bodies, Spirits New Zealand and Distilled Spirits Aotearoa, took place at Wellington’s Te Papa on 10 May, and received 254 entries from both local and international distilleries.

The Awards saw seven of 13 trophies won by New Zealand distilleries. 41% of overall Awards entries were from New Zealand producers. 221 bronze, silver, gold and double gold medals were won, and 90 of those were awarded to New Zealand distilleries.

Of special note were double trophy winners, Wellington gin distillers, Denzien Urban Distillery. Its Te Aro Dry took out Best New Zealand in Category for Gin and Trophy for Best Overall in Category for Gin, despite opening distillery doors less than six months ago.

Also of note were double trophy winners, Lewis Road Creamery for its Chocolate Cream Liqueur, and Golden Bay’s TeKiwi 100% Blue Agave Spirit, who won the New Zealand Innovation Award. NZ distilleries, Thomson Whisky from Riverhead won for its Thomson Whisky Two Tone, The White Sheep Co. from Tauranga for its Sheep Milk Vodka, and Marlborough’s Elemental Distillers won for its Grapefruit & Hops Bitters.

Robert Brewer, Chief Executive of Spirits New Zealand, said the New Zealand Spirits Awards exceeded expectations in its first year.

“We would have been very happy to get 100 entries into the Awards, but 254 entries is truly amazing in its inaugural year,” said Robert.

Distilled Spirits Aotearoa Chair, Sue James, says the number of entries is a solid indication of the growing strength of the New Zealand spirits industry, since almost half of these entries were New Zealand distilleries and products.

“Less than 10 years ago, there would have been less than 20 distilleries in New Zealand. And now there would be close to 100,” said Sue.

“This is a wonderful place for the NZ Spirits Awards to be in its first year, and we hope it just continues to grow alongside other new industry events, like Highball.”

Highball is Wellington's new cocktail and spirits festival, taking place the same weekend as the Awards.

Please click here for Trophy winners.


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