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Discerning Palates Judge Kiwi Distillers Against Global Brands At NZ Spirits Awards

Judging of more than 260 New Zealand and overseas spirits will start on 22 July in Wellington at the second NZ Spirits Awards. The Awards were established in 2019 by Spirits New Zealand and Distilled Spirits Aotearoa to celebrate and recognise the master craftsmanship of distillers.

Open to both New Zealand and international producers, these awards will see New Zealand spirits pitted against some of the world’s most recognised brands.

This year a panel of 21 discerning judges will taste seven categories – gin, vodka, whisky, rum, liqueurs, botanicals & other spirits, and brandies, with 54% of entries from New Zealand and 46% from overseas.

“New Zealand has a bourgeoning spirits industry made up of around 85 distilleries,” says Sue James, Chair of Distilled Spirits Aotearoa.

“The industry respects history and tradition, yet embraces innovation and challenging the status quo,” says Sue.

“This year there are ten entries in contention for the New Zealand Innovation Award, which recognises innovation in the New Zealand spirits market from unique or new processes, imagery and packaging design, recipes and flavours, or products,” she said.

“Like many industries, spirit producers have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 so it is fantastic that we can run the Spirits Awards after delaying them for several months,” says Spirits New Zealand Chief Executive Robert Brewer.

“And we have exceeded expectations with more entries this year than in its inaugural year back in 2019,” says Robert.

Judging for the NZ Spirits Awards is taking place from 22-24 July 2020 at the Sofitel in Wellington. Medallists will be announced on 31 July 2020, and trophy winners will be formally announced at an awards dinner on 21 August 2020 in Wellington.

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