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Highlights And Winners From International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) 2023

 

One of the largest global spirits competition, the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC), has just announced their 2023 Producer Winners across various key categories!

Here are some of the highlights:

Winner of International Gin Producer Trophy - Four Pillars Distillery (Australia)

Australia's Four Pillars has bagged an incredible treble with the IWSC International Gin Producer Trophy, taking the top award home a whopping three times!

 

| Read: Four Pillars, Three Friends: Making Modern Australian Gin In Australia’s Wine Country

  

"Our judges praised Four Pillars’ innovation, continually looking for the next big thing in gin. The judges commented that the brand “was doing something that gin category needs, collaborations”.

These collaborations showed real willingness to take risks but also to extend a hand to fellow brands. However, the brand doesn’t solely look to innovate within the drinks industry, they have also ventured into food "Made-from-Gin" items, the judges loved the continual thirst for innovation from botanical crackers to stillage-washed cheese, to name just a few. A delicious way to reduce flavour waste."

Expressions highlighted by the IWSC judging panel includes the Bloody Underhill Vineyard Shiraz Gin and Single Barrel S36 Gin.

| Read: Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin [Reviewed!]

Winner of Agave Producer Trophy & Overall Outstanding Spirits Producer Trophy - Altos Planos (Mexico)

More popularly known by their Mijenta Tequila brand, Altos Planos is responsible for launching several successful high-quality agave spirits brands that have made the category more exciting and approachable to consumers, with their hit Gran Reserva Anejo being a regular sell out.

They are also the first agave spirits producer to earn the B Corp status for sustainability and have made great strides through their eco-friendly packaging and in efforts to uplift women in the agricultural sector.

  

 

"Our judges believe that Altos are doing an incredible job at making tequila and mezcal approachable to new customers as well as long-standing aficionados. Their storytelling is engaging and excites their customers. They are able to communicate effectively without compromising on intricate details.

But in addition to making great products, the company has from inception been committed to having a positive impact on society. With a deep commitment to sustainability and giving back to local communities, Altos’ goal has been to demonstrate that it is possible to craft award-winning spirits in a responsible manner in order to inspire other larger companies to join them."

Winner of Shochu Producer Trophy - Hamada Syuzou (Japan)

Hamada Syuzou has been a major player in the Shochu category for over a century, and yet retained the ability to reinvent itself with the introduction of its his Daiyame Shochu, which is famous for its ability to create deeply floral and fruity flavours through its innovative processes of handling the local sweet potatoes used to produce the shochu.

 

| Read: Daiyame Hamada Syuzou Imo (Sweet Potato) Shochu [Reviewed!]

  

"Our judges were impressed by the quality of its Daiyame 40, with it awarded a gold medal, and 98 points, judges praised the "engagingly crafted bouquet of aromas, with floral orange flower, lychee and kiwi leading on the nose. Rich and crisp with an enticing depth of complexity on the palate, infusing a sweetness of tropical fruits into an expertly balanced finale." However, it wasn't just our judges that saw the protential of the range, the spirits industry around the world did too, with exports of the drink increasing by over 600% since its launch in 2018.

Our judges commented that Hamada, for a company making spirits with such a lot of history, they are very foward looking. They are incredibly proud of what they do. Hamada Syuzou is motivated to engage in the preservation of the shochu, not only as a spirt product, but also as a cultural phenomenon."

Winner of Rum Producer Trophy - Worthy Park Estate (Jamaica)

Jamaican rums are having a real moment with many fans being won over by its distinctive funky hogo flavours that include overripe bananas, green olive brine and diesel grease - it's an eclectic but winning combination to say the least. 

One of the cornerstones of Jamaican rums is Worthy Park, which was established in 1670, and has been on a full pedal to the metal charge to bring great new bottlings to the fore.

 

(Image Source: Black Parrot Bar) 

  

"Our judges were very impressed with the innovation being carried out in the distillery, from bringing in wine barrels to implement secondary ageing, to maintaining a close relationship with the on-trade. Worthy Park really demonstrated how they listen to what the market's needs and aim to fill the gaps. By working with bartenders, the distillery was able to launch two rums that met the demands of what the bars needed."

Of particular note by the IWSC judging panel was the Worthy Park 109 Proof expression.

Winner of Vodka Producer Trophy - Grainshaker Australian Vodka (Australia)

The past several years we've seen a real burst of vibrance in the Australian distilling scene with everything from gin to whiskies and rum - so why not vodka as well!

Grainshaker works with Aussie farmers to create vodkas from a mixture of corn, wheat and rye grains, with a specific emphasis on highlighting the provenance of its vodka in context of its flavours.

  

     

"The “grain-to-glass” movement has been making waves for many years, and our judges believe that Grainshakers are the leaders in it. They proactively promote it in everything they do, “It may be more time consuming, more expensive to make but we believe that drinkers deserve better.”

Grainshaker impressed our judges with their continuous commitment to flavour, working with customers to innovate and ensure they are delivering the products that consumers want. Vodka is not an easy spirit to make, and make well, vodka is more than just a vehicle for alcohol. Our judges appreciated Grainshaker’s passion for the raw materials that go into their vodka."

The IWSC judging panel highlighted the Grainshaker Wheat Vodka as a particular standout.

Winner of Scotch Whisky Producer Trophy - The Glenturret (Scotland)

Glenturret is one of Scotland's oldest working distilleries, having been in existence since 1763, and more recently has been owned by the Lalique Group of crystal fame.

  

  

"Our judges believe that The Glenturret is very deserving of this trophy and recognition should be given to the team revitalising and rejuvenating the traditional brand, whilst always staying true to producing credible Scotch Whisky. 

The Glenturret Lalique Restaurant, is the first in-distillery fine dining concept to receive a Michelin Star globally, this accolade greatly impressed our judges, demonstrating that The Glenturret’s efforts go outside of just Scotch Whisky, showing the perfect marriage between gastronomy and Scotch."

Winner of Baijiu Producer Trophy - Chan's (China)

Chan’s is an ecological Sauce-flavoured Baijiu.

   

(Image Source: IWSC)

 

"Our judges were greatly impressed by Chan’s passion for their product, but also their passion and loyalty to their customers. As a brand they want to contribute to the growth of the Baijiu industry and ensure that it has global appreciation. They are constantly evolving as a brand and ensure their customers are engaged in the brand’s innovative developments."

The IWSC judging panel highlighted Chan's Kai Yuan Baijiu as a standout expression.

Winner of Brandy Producer Trophy - Ragnaud Sabourin (France)

Ragnaud Sabourin in Cognac is a family-owned estate since 1850, with land across Charente, Grande Champagne.

 

 

"Our judges valued Ragnaud Sabourin’s ability to maintain their tradition, something that sets the brand apart from others. They are an established Cognac brand that have shown real consistency in what they strive to produce.

 The brand has characteristic of being both vine grower, distiller and brand owner, producing only the best quality in limited quantities, thus perpetuating the great family tradition of craftsmanship."

The IWSC judging panel highlight the Ragnaud Sabourin No. 4 VS Cognac as standout.

Winner of Worldwide Whiskey Producer Trophy - Bardstown Bourbon (USA)

Bardstown Bourbon in Kentucky utilises over 50 different mashbills that range across the whiskey spectrum, allowing the distiller to maintain a long history of producing whiskies for great whiskey brands, before turning to their own distillation in 2016.

 

(Image Source: Bar Belle)

 

"Our judges commended Bardstown’s technical ability, noting that they are fully engaged with the trade and are able to meet their clients’ different needs, showcasing their ever-growing skillsets and expertise.

They admired the experiential activities they are offering at the distillery, and as the first destination on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® they set the standard for the modern bourbon experience. Our judges believe Bardstown are trying to fulfil a thirst within the market, they are a destination where others can go to create their own aspirations."

The IWSC judging panel selected the Bardstown Origin Series Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey as a standout.

Other Notable Winners

Winners from other categories include Gyre and Gimble which won the UK Gin Producer Trophy, while Two Drifters Distillery took home the trophy for Green Spirit Initiative and lastly Podrum Palic 1896 won the trophy for Fruit Spirits Producer.

 

Kanpai!

 

88 Bamboo Editorial Team