The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

33 awards in 32 months for ‘relative newcomer’ West Coast distillery

West Coast Distillery – Reefton Distilling Co. – has taken home 33 awards in 32 months after winning Best Overall in Category – Vodka, and Best NZ in Category – Vodka, in last week’s NZ Spirit Awards.

A relative newcomer to the spirits industry, Reefton Distilling Co. launched two-and-a-half years ago and produces eight spirits including liqueur, bourbon, gin and its award-winning Wild Rain Vodka.

Founder and Chief Executive, Patsy Bass, says winning at the New Zealand Spirit Awards is “an enormous endorsement of the hard work and commitment from the Reefton team over the last 2.5 years, as they strive to keep Reefton and the West Coast at the forefront of Spirits in New Zealand, and now the world.”

Bass says Reefton Distilling Co. has always been about doing the right thing.

“To help the West Coast economy and create jobs in my hometown,” she says. “We have a fabulous team who are the real special ingredient that bring the magic to our products.”

Wild Rain Vodka

As well as the double trophy win for its Wild Rain Vodka, Reefton Distilling Co. took home five medals including Silver for Little Biddy Gin – Pink, Little Biddy Gin – Cask Aged (Bourbon) and Reefton Distilling Co. Tayberry Liqueur, with Reefton Distilling Co. Blueberry Liqueur achieving Bronze.

Alex Ricketts, one of the head judges of the NZ Spirits Awards says New Zealand spirits encompasses a broad range of people.

“From long industry backgrounds to none at all and modest to significant investment, this is what adds a lot of character.

“We don’t have a long distillation history and the industry is quite young here,” he told The Shout NZ.

“Some products are truly world class.”

Having attained an impressive lineup of 33 awards over the past 32 months, including a Platinum Medal and Consumers’ Choice Award at the prestigious international 2021 SIP Awards, Reefton Distilling Co. is a product of hard work and dedication.

For those wanting to launch a spirits brand in New Zealand, Bass says: “Whatever you think it will cost; triple it. However hard you’re prepared to work; triple it.

“Have a comprehensive business case, well tested and a strong value offer.

“New Zealand is fragmenting swiftly so you will need a very strong and clear offer so as not to get lost in the noise.”

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