The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Judging begins for the NZ Spirits Awards 2023

The judging of the 5th annual NZ Spirits Awards has begun in Auckland and organiser, Spirits NZ, says the trends are clear.

While gin is still the predominant entry, there has been a significant increase in the number of dark, aged spirits from New Zealand distillers.

“There’s been about a 20% uptick in rum and whisky entries this year compared with last year and over two-thirds of all the entries are from New Zealand distillers,” says Spirits NZ Chief Executive, Robert Brewer.

“It’s pretty obvious that, just by the structure of entries alone, the New Zealand industry is beginning to mature as distillers look to take aged product out of cask and into bottle.

“This has always been the plan by most and it’s beginning to come off,” says Robert.

However, Brewer says that the love affair with gin continues.

“By the numbers we have had 435 entries (about the same as last year) with 290 from NZ –214 entries are gin, with 174 of these being New Zealand products.

“There are 50 rum entries with a whopping 33 from New Zealand and 71 whiskies – 20 from New Zealand,” he says.

Judging winds up on Friday, May 5, with the judging for trophies (i.e. best in class).

Medal winners are announced soon after the judging ends, with trophy winners announced at an Awards dinner held in Auckland in June.

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