Food Drink

South Australia Triumphs At National Spirit Awards

South Australian spirits have taken out a swag of awards at the national competition over the weekend.

South Australian distillers have triumphed at the second annual Tasting Australia Spirit Awards, winning seven of the nine national award categories, including the two major awards.

Announced in a gala ceremony on Saturday, April 6 in Tasting Australia’s Town Square, the winners were chosen from 162 entries from 57 exhibitors across Australia, recognising the best Australian whisky, gin, vodka, rum and more.

Adelaide Hills Distillery based in Hay Valley was named Best Distiller overall for its gold medal winning 78 Degrees Gin and Bitter Orange Aperitif, which also took out the award for Best Liqueur – the second time for the distillery after winning the inaugural Best Liqueur award in 2018.

Rochfort Distillery from Hindmarsh Valley in South Australia won the night’s other major award of Best Small Batch Spirit for its Single Malt Whisky, which also picked up the prize for Best Whisky.

South Australian distillers also won the awards for Best Gin, Best Brandy and Best Alternate Spirit.

Best Gin went to Imperial Measures Distilling in Thebarton for its Ounce Gin – Bold, while Renmark’s St Agnes Distillery won Best Brandy for its St Agnes XO 15YO.

Adelaide based Vittorio Spirits won the Best Alternate Spirit award for its Tsipouro Traditional.

Victoria’s White Light Beverages won Best Vodka for its White Light Vodka Original, while Best Rum went to Kimberley Rum Company Pty Ltd from Western Australia for its Canefire No. 9 Premium Australian Rum.

The winners were determined through two days of intensive tasting by a panel of expert judges led by World Whisky Award Hall of Fame inductee Bill Lark, of Tasmania’s Lark Distillery.

Chief judge Lark said the quality of entries this year was extremely impressive, with South Australia dominating the awards.

Chief Judge Bill Lark. Photo by Meaghan Coles

“The entries across the board this year were just sensational, with gold medals and trophies awarded in all classes. The quality of spirits coming out of Australia at the moment is just incredible, and every year it goes
up a level,” he said.

“I think South Australia is seriously becoming a leading state for spirit production; a lot of SA spirits are winning top awards around the country and that’s something we’ve seen reflected here.”

Mr Lark said awards like Tasting Australia’s Spirit Awards were an important launchpad for distillers nationwide.

“These awards not only provide an important forum for examination and feedback for Australian distillers, but it can really rocket them into the commercial world. When a product wins an award from a competition like this it really makes a difference to the consumer and launches them into the market,” he said.

Judge Brooke Hayman. Photo by Meaghan Coles

Tasting Australia Beverage Director Nick Stock said the Spirit Awards were another way in which the Tasting Australia festival supports local industry.

“As a festival, Tasting Australia is deeply invested in promoting and showcasing Australian distilling and the best products being made,” he said.

“We are an artisanal festival and we are very committed to supporting artisan spirits and shining a light on what is a very exciting space in the world of drinks.”

For the full list of Spirit Award winners, including medallists, see the Tasting Australia website.

Tasting Australia continues across Adelaide and regions until April 14, 2019. For tickets and more information on all events go to

• Best Distiller: Adelaide Hills Distillery (SA)
• Best Small Batch Spirit: Rochfort Distiller (SA)
• Best Whisky: Rochfort Distillery Single Malt Whisky, Rochfort Distillery (SA)
• Best Gin: Ounce Gin – Bold, Imperial Measures Distilling (SA)
• Best Vodka: White Light Vodka Original, White Light Beverages (VIC)
• Best Rum: Canefire No. 9 Premium Australian Rum, Kimberley Rum Company Pty Ltd (WA)
• Best Brandy: St Agnes XO 15YO, St Agnes Distillery (SA)
• Best Liqueur: Bitter Orange Aperitif, Adelaide Hills Distillery (SA)
• Best Alternate Spirit: Tsipouro Traditional, Vittorio Spirits (SA)

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