06 Aug 2021

The fourth annual Tasting Australia Spirit Awards presented by Master Cask is now open, inviting the nation’s best distillers to put forward their entries.

In 2020, the coveted awards program attracted a record number of entries, with over 250 unique spirits in the running from across the country.   

This year, a new award has been added to the 11 existing awards, the Premier’s Gin Award. This award is exclusive to South Australian gin entries and will celebrate the best local gin, presented to the winning distillery by the Premier of South Australia, Steven Marshall.

“The spirits industry is one of the fastest growing and most diverse in the country, and the Tasting Australia Spirit Awards is a sensational showcase of existing and emerging distillers – with a chance to be recognised by some of the country’s leading spirit experts,” said Premier Marshall.

“Last year we saw 28 South Australian distillers submit their spirits into the awards, with 57 gins entered from around the state. This year, all ‘Gold Medal’ South Australian gin entries will have the chance to be presented with the Premier’s Gin Award to acknowledge the best SA gin. We know SA does gin incredibly well, in fact – it’s world-class. This new award category will shine a light on and celebrate a beverage area our state has really staked a claim in nationally.”

Entries will be assessed by a panel of expert judges from around Australia, who have been selected by Tasting Australia Drinks Curator, Nick Stock and the newly appointed Spirit Awards Patron, Bill Lark of Tasmania’s Lark Distillery.

As one of the country’s most recognised names in distilling and World Whisky Award Hall of Fame inductee, Bill Lark says he is looking forward to mentoring and guiding the panel throughout the judging process.

“I have been involved with the Tasting Australia Spirit Awards as a judge since its inception in 2018,” said Mr Lark.

“This year, I am honoured to be the Patron for the awards and to work alongside the panel, providing tasting education sessions for the judges which will enhance the overall judging process. I look forward to working with the judges in this capacity and to continue to improve the calibre of the awards for future years.”

Lark and Stock have selected Ollie Margan, owner of Maybe Mae and multiple other hospitality venues across Adelaide CBD and surrounds, as this year’s Spirit Awards Head Judge.

“It has been a real privilege to be involved in the Tasting Australia Spirit Awards over the last three years, so to take on the position of Head Judge is most humbling,” said Mr Margan.

“The Australian spirits world has never been so engaging or diverse as it is right now. Quality is hitting unprecedented levels, and I am really looking forward to working with our experienced panels of judges alongside Spirit Awards mentor Bill Lark, the Godfather of Australian spirits, to discover some emerging talent as well as recognising those of provenance.”

Nominations for entries close on Friday 24 September, with the awards ceremony scheduled for Saturday 16 October in Adelaide. To enter the 2021 Tasting Australia Spirit Awards presented by Master Cask, click here.

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