The NZ Spirits Awards has announced its trophy winners in a live virtual awards ceremony with the planned awards dinner cancelled due to Level 3 restrictions in Auckland.

The most anticipated category – gin – saw the trophy taken away by Napier’s National Distillery Company and their Hemp Gin. For the second year running the whisky trophy went to the Talisker 10.

“We heartily congratulate all our trophy and medal winners and thank all our world-class entrants from here and afar for supporting what is becoming a hotly-contested competition,” says Sue James, Chair of Distilled Spirits Aotearoa.

“The crafting of fine spirits respects long-standing history and tradition, but it’s important for the industry to embrace innovation, new flavours and techniques, and to keep an open mind and challenge the status quo.”

Great Barrier Island’s ‘Island Gin’ received this year’s New Zealand Innovation Award for its copper pot distilled gin presented in a unique Kina-inspired bottle made of reclaimed glass.

“This award recognises unique or new processes, imagery and packaging design, recipes, flavours or products,” says James. “This beautiful bottle, packaged on a solar-powered packaging line, is instantly recognisable, and invokes wonderful images of New Zealand island life, beaches and summer.”

After a delay of several months, judging for the awards took place under Alert Level 1 in July in Wellington with 54% of entries from New Zealand and 46% from overseas.

“For what is a relatively young industry in New Zealand, we are seeing sophisticated spirits being produced here, and they are standing up strongly against some of the most recognised brands in the world,” says Spirits NZ Chief Executive, Robert Brewer.

“Right now we are seeing a renaissance in spirits and a shift to premiumisation – that’s people drinking less but perhaps spending a little more to enjoy a quality beverage.”

NZ Spirits Awards Trophy Winners 2020:

New Zealand Innovation Award
Winner: Island Gin
Highly commended:
Lunatic & Lover – Botanical Rum Silver Batch No 1
Begin Distilling – Juno Trailblazer’s Four-Pack

Rum – Best New Zealand in category
Winner: Helmsman spiced rum

Gin – Best New Zealand in category; AND Best overall in category
Winner: National Distillery Company Hemp Gin

Rum – Best overall in category
Winner: Havana Club 7 Year Old

Vodka – Best New Zealand in category; AND Best overall in category
Winner: 42 Below Passion

Liqueur – Best New Zealand in category; AND Best overall in category
Winner: Sovrano Caffelisir coffee liqueur

Whisky – Best New Zealand in category
Winner: Thomson Whisky South Island Peat Single Malt

Botanicals and other spirits – Best overall in category
Winner: Herradura Ultra Anejo

Whisky – Best overall in category
Winner: Talisker 10 Year Old

Brandy – Best overall in category
Winner: Martell XO

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