Judging has begun for the second annual NZ Spirits Awards.

More than 260 spirits from New Zealand and overseas will be tasted by a panel of 21 judges in Wellington this week.

The categories include: gin, vodka, whisky, rum, liqueurs, botanicals & other spirits, and brandies.

Fifty-four percent of entries this year come 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.

“This year there are 10 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.”

Spirits New Zealand Chief Executive Robert Brewer says like many industries, spirit producers have been heavily impacted by COVID-19.

“It is fantastic that we can run the Spirits Awards after delaying them for several months,” he says.

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

The NZ Spirits Awards medal winners will be announced on 31 July 2020, and trophy winners will be formally announced at an awards dinner on 21 August 2020 in Wellington. Click here to purchase tickets.

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