Wellington Scoop

New Wellington gin distillery wins two national awards

News from Spirits New Zealand
The best of the best in New Zealand’s spirits have been announced in the first New Zealand Spirits Awards. The inaugural Awards, hosted by industry bodies Spirits New Zealand and Distilled Spirits Aotearoa, took place at Te Papa, and received 254 entries from both local and international distilleries.

Of special note were double trophy winners, Wellington gin distillers Denzien Urban Distillery. Their Te Aro Dry took out Best New Zealand in Category for Gin, and the Trophy for Best Overall in Category for Gin, despite opening their distillery less than six months ago.

The Awards saw seven of the 13 trophies won by New Zealand distilleries. 41% of overall Awards entries were from New Zealand producers. 221 bronze, silver, gold and double gold medals were won, and 90 of those were awarded to New Zealand distilleries.

Lewis Road Creamery were winners for their Chocolate Cream Liqueur, and Golden Bay’s TeKiwi 100% Blue Agave Spirit won the New Zealand Innovation Award. NZ distilleries Thomson Whisky from Riverhead won for its Thomson Whisky Two Tone, The White Sheep Co. from Tauranga for its Sheep Milk Vodka, and Marlborough’s Elemental Distillers won for its Grapefruit & Hops Bitters.

Robert Brewer, Chief Executive of Spirits New Zealand, said the New Zealand Spirits Awards exceeded expectations in its first year. “We would have been very happy to get 100 entries into the Awards, but 254 entries is truly amazing in its inaugural year,” said Robert.

Distilled Spirits Aotearoa Chair Sue James says the number of entries is a solid indication of the growing strength of the New Zealand spirits industry, since almost half of these entries were New Zealand distilleries and products.

“Less than 10 years ago, there would have been less than 20 distilleries in New Zealand. And now there would be close to 100,” said Sue. “This is a wonderful place for the NZ Spirits Awards to be in its first year, and we hope it just continues to grow alongside other new industry events, like Highball.” Highball, Wellington’s new cocktail and spirits festival, took place the same weekend as the Awards.