Cannabis-infused Myrcene Hemp Gin

Autumn is almost upon us, and Australians will soon bid farewell to the longer days and balmy weather for another year. As we move away from the fruity flavours of summer, The Cannabis Company’s Myrcene Hemp Gin is the perfect, feel-good spirit to warm us up in the cooler months.
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Opihr's Oriental Spice Gin

OPIHR’s Oriental Spiced Gin is a London Dry Gin, rooted in the Ancient Spice Route and inspired by the adventurous spirit of merchants travelling thousands of miles to trade exotic spices and botanicals from distant lands. It is made using exotic hand-picked botanicals, herbs and spices of the Orient, including spicy cubeb berries from Indonesia, cardamom and Tellicherry black pepper from India, and coriander from Morocco.

Also available to enjoy this Christmas are pre-mixed Gin & Tonic, and pre-mixed Gin & Tonic with a twist of Orange, both featuring OPIHR Oriental Spiced Gin.

Gordon’s Gin release new sicilian lemon flavour

Gordon’s Gin has  added its Gordon’s Sicilian Lemon Distilled Gin to its Australian portfolio.

Gordon’s Sicilian Lemon Distilled Gin offers a twist on an original recipe from Alexander Gordon. Made using 100 per cent natural flavours, the recipe has been crafted to balance the juniper notes and taste of Gordon’s with Sicilian lemons. 

Available in both full-strength Gordon’s Sicilian Lemon Distilled Gin 700ml serve and ready-to-drink format, Gordon’s Sicilian Lemon Gin & Soda 330ml.

Mac. by Brookie’s takes home ‘World’s Best’ at the World Liqueur Awards

2020 Cape Byron Distillery can add ‘World’s Best Nut Liqueur’ to its list of awards after Mac. by Brookie’s was awarded the top position at the 2020 World Liqueur Awards.

Launched at the end of January 2019, the liqueur combines the richness of roasted macadamia nuts with the coffee, cacao and hazelnut flavours from toasted Australian wattleseed. It is a buttery smooth versatile liqueur with just the right balance of sweetness.

Staying true to the distillery’s environmental ethos, it is made up of 100 per cent locally sourced ingredients. The macadamia nuts themselves are procured from the Northern Rivers region, which includes the Brook family farm, home to Cape Byron Distillery.

“It was a humbling experience waking up to the news that Mac. had taken home the gong for not just best in Australia, but the world,” said Eddie Brook, co-founder of Cape Byron Distillery. “We are blessed with an abundance of incredible native Australian produce in the Northern Rivers and we get excited about showcasing these flavours in spirits that consumers have never tried. So, we are stoked to see that people around the world are excited about our products too.”

Australian distillery wins international gin award

Gins from more than 30 countries competed in The Gin Guide Awards 2020 in categories based on production methods, styles of gin, and countries of production. The winners are selected through a rigorous blind tasting process conducted by a large panel of distinguished gin experts, distillers, retailers and mixologists. Each gin’s appearance, aroma, flavour, mouthfeel, finish and overall quality and market appeal are assessed to determine the highest scoring gins, based purely on the spirit itself and with no influence from branding or marketing. Included in the winners circle was Queenland-based Wolf Lane Distillery which got two gongs – Best in Australasia and one of the winners in the Navy Strength Gin category.

Henstone Distillery in Shropshire took centre stage with the ‘Distillery of the Year’ Award, alongside being winners in the London Dry Gin, Traditional Gin and Aged Gin categories. Norwich’s St Giles Distillery were also double winners with their St Giles Gin and their Raspberry, Rhubarb and Ginger Gin, with the latter impressively being the first gin to win a category two years running.

Singapore’s Tanglin Orchid Gin became the first Asian gin to win a category and Verdigris Gin from The National Distilling Company achieved the same feat for New Zealand as a winner of the Contemporary Gin category. Having won the Navy Strength Gin category in 2019, Slovenia’s Broken Bones Distillery returned with their London Dry Gin this year to be the top rated European Gin, with Dutch, Italian and German Gins also showing their prowess.

Gins from growing gin markets in Europe, Australasia and South Africa have become successful contenders in recent years, especially in the Contemporary Gin categories. However, it was the well represented British gins that continued to show their quality in the London Dry Gin, Traditional Gin and Flavoured Gin categories, with Stockport Gin Pink Edition and the recently launched Bond Street Signature Dry Gin being Award winners.

Now in its 4th year, The Gin Guide Awards is an independent, global celebration of the historic, diverse and growing gin industry. Recognised and respected by the trade and consumers alike for its rigorous and quality-focused approach, The Gin Guide Awards serves to highlight the exceptional products, distilleries and people within the gin industry across the world. Keep an eye out for past winners displaying their Awards proudly on their bottles and packaging.

Head judge Paul Jackson, the founder and editor of The Gin Guide, commented on The Gin Guide Awards 2020 and the standard of entries:

“The quality and diversity of gins has been remarkable. British gins and international gins alike showed the depth of skill in distillation and product development that exists in the industry. Gins from unexpected and emerging markets hugely impressed the esteemed judges and showed that gin can truly cross borders and be an exciting product in markets across the world,” he said.

“Huge congratulations and credibility go to all the winners and finalists. It is an outstanding achievement to be a winner in The Gin Guide Awards, with the need to unanimously impress an expert panel of judges across all key characteristics of the spirit. Previous winners have used their success in The Gin Guide Awards to take their businesses to the next level, and I look forward to seeing this year’s winners enjoying the benefits of their achievements in the same way.”  

Full List of Category Winners

Production Categories

  • London Dry Gin – Winners:
    • Bond Street Signature Dry Gin (Leicestershire, England)
    • Broken Bones London Dry Gin (Slovenia)
    • Henstone London Dry Gin (Shropshire, England)
  • Distilled Gin (Non London Dry) – Winners:
    • Portofino Dry Gin (Italy)
    • Speight’s Signature Gin (West Yorkshire, England)
  • Compound Gin – Winners:
    • Ginberg (Italy)
    • Tranquebar Royal Danish Navy Gin (Netherlands)

  • Aged Gin – Winners:
    • Henstone Rosé Gin (Shropshire, England)
    • Winestillery Old Tom Gin (Italy)

  • Distillery of the Year – Winner:
    • Henstone Distillery (Shropshire, England)

Style Categories

  • Traditional Gin (Up to 42% ABV) – Winners:
    • Bond Street Signature Dry Gin (Leicestershire, England)
    • Tanglin Orchid Gin (Singapore)
  • Traditional Gin (Over 42% ABV) – Winners:
    • Henstone London Dry Gin (Shropshire, England)
    • Tranquebar Royal Danish Navy Gin (Netherlands)
  • Contemporary Gin (Up to 42% ABV) – Winners:
    • Solar Gin (Netherlands)
    • St Giles Gin (Norwich, England)
  • Contemporary Gin (Over 42% ABV) – Winners:
    • Broken Bones London Dry Gin (Slovenia)
    • GINSTR – Stuttgart Dry Gin (Germany)
    • Verdigris (New Zealand)
  • Flavoured Gin – Winners:
    • St Giles Raspberry, Rhubarb & Ginger Gin (Norwich, England)
    • Stockport Gin – Pink Edition (Stockport, England)
  • Navy Strength Gin (57% – 58% ABV) – Winners:
    • Wardington’s Original Ludlow Dry Gin – Navy Strength Gin (Shropshire, England)
    • Wolf Lane Distillery Navy Strength Gin (Australia)

  • Old Tom Gin – Winner:
    • Lytham Gin Bee’s Knees Old Tom Gin (Lancashire, England)

International Categories

  • Best in Africa:Unit 43 Gin (South Africa)
  • Best in Asia:Tanglin Orchid Gin (Singapore)
  • Best in Australasia: Wolf Lane Navy Strength Gin (Australia)
  • Best in Britain:Henstone London Dry Gin (England)
  • Best in Europe:Broken Bones London Dry Gin (Slovenia)
  • Best in The Americas: BVI Gin (British Virgin Islands)

Additional Categories

  • Design & Branding:Weisshorn Glacier Gin (Switzerland)
  • Environmental Sustainability:Bullards Gin (Norwich, England)
  • Environmental Sustainability (Small Producer):Shed 1 Distillery (Cumbria, England)

South Australian Boast Distiller of the Year

The South Australian gin industry continues to explode onto the world stage with Head Distiller of Never Never Distilling Co. Tim Boast being named Distiller of the Year at the International Spirits Business Awards held in London this week.

Boast (pictured far right) was selected from an international field of top distillers across all spirit categories. The award reflects the international success story that has become the Never Never Distilling Co’s throughout 2019.

“It’s an incredible honour to receive such a deeply personal validation that I might be doing a few things right,” says Boast, “It’s very humbling, but I would never have been able to do it without the support of my wife and business partners.”

“It’s not every day you turn around to your wife and suggest building a gin brand with our entire lifesavings,” Boast says, “from the outset I haven’t really had any other choice other than to succeed.”

The result was no doubt influenced by the string of international and local accolades the tiny South Australian brand has been able to achieve over the past 12 months, taking on the giants of the industry and winning the prize for the World’s Best Classic Gin at the World Gin Awards held in London earlier this year.

Adding to this result were Double Gold medals at the prestigious San Francisco and Singapore World Spirit Competitions, Champion Gin and Champion Spirit at the Royal Australian Spirit Awards and Best Classic Gin and Gin of Show at the Australian Gin Awards held in November.

All this from a brand that started making gin in 2017 in the back of a shed in Royal Park.

It’s been a meteoric rise considering Boast has only been a full-time distiller for two years having spent the previous 10 years in the world of finance. While living in London he was inspired by his formidable and encouraging grandmother, Nancy and influenced by family lore of his British forebearers’ founding of Gilbys Gin in the 19th century.

After returning to Adelaide “I spent more time tinkering and dreaming about making gin than anything else,” says Boast. His backyard brewery contained a variety of distilling equipment that he used to hone his skills and create a library of flavour before deciding to take the next step professionally.

It is Tim’s fearless approach to pursuing his passions that has assisted in driving the success of the brand, alongside good friends George Georgiadis and Sean Baxter.

Brand Director of Never Never, Baxter, adds “We set out with a focus on creating a special gin brand and have always sought out opportunities to be judged against the best in the business.” The Never Never Distilling Co. scored gold medals in every competition they entered in 2019, both in Australia and abroad, with many of those golds securing trophies or best in show.

It’s a statistic that not only represents the dedication and talent of the production team at Never Never, but also the newfound status of the Australian distilling industry producing some of the best spirits in the world.

“The Australian small spirits industry is kicking goals all over the globe,” said Baxter, “we, and others like us, have worked hard to build a product that is truly seen as world class.”

“Australians still consume less than 10% locally-made Australian spirits when they head to their local bottle-shop,” Baxter continues, “we want to dramatically shift that dial by creating some of the best gins in the world, right here on our doorstep.”

“Tim’s win is a sign of the respect that is being shown to Australian distillers worldwide,” Baxter continues, “he’s worked his ass off and sacrificed a lot so for him to be celebrated as the best this year is a credit to his dedication.”

The Never Never team are currently building a new state of the art distillery in McLaren Vale situated at Chalk Hill, slated to open in early 2020. It will contain a production floor and cocktail bar and share the site with a cellar door experience from Chalk Hill Wines.

New Zealand spirit named best in world London dry gin in the world

A New Zealand gin has been named the best London dry gin in the world at the International Wine and Spirits Competition.

Scapegrace Gold took out the London Dry Gin trophy 2018 in London, beating more than 600 other gins to take out the supreme award, which had a 50 per cent increase in entrants from last year.

Veteran judge Steve Beal said Scapegrace Gold was “staggeringly good”.

“Making gin this good is not easy or accidental, we salute the blender. [It’s] a magnificent gin,” he said.

READ: Winners of the Food and Beverage Industry Awards announced

“[Scapegrace Gold] has the classic juniper burr running through it, joined by powerful but balanced spice and root flavours combining to make a complex, teasing expression demanding of attention on the palate,” said Beal.

The winning gin was founded by Auckland-based friends Mark Neal, Daniel McLaughlan, and Richard Bourke four years ago.

It is now stocked in 35 countries, including some of the best cocktail bars in the world.

Neal said the team were blown away by the recognition.

“The irony isn’t lost on us that our gin is the best London dry gin in the world, even though we’re based on the exact opposite side of the world to London,” said Neal.

“We spent years researching and developing our recipe, from day dot we were committed to creating a gin for New Zealanders which we could take to the world,” he said.

Scapegrace Gold is distilled in small batches with 13 botanicals – lemon, orange, coriander, cardamom, cloves, juniper berries, nutmeg, angelica root, liquorice root, orris, cinnamon, cassia bark, and tangerine.

Tangerine was the “lucky 13th botanical” that differentiated Scapegrace Gold from Scapegrace Classic, said Neal.

“It might seem surprising to see a New Zealand gin win this award when you think of the history and tradition behind the artisan liquor in the UK and Europe — but the reason our gin tastes so clean, is because of our water which we source from a natural aquifer just north of Christchurch,” he said.

The aquifer is one of the last natural aquifers in the world, supplying water fresh from the Southern Alps which takes about 80 years to trickle down from the snowy mountains.

McLaughlan said Scapegrace was designed to shake up the liquor industry by creating something for the new generation of gin drinkers.

“We wanted to shift away from the old classics, the stuff you’ll find in your parents’ liquor cabinet, by introducing a modern and progressive way of doing gin,” said McLaughlan.

“Everything from our ingredients, to the processes used, and even the bottles they come in pays tribute to the craft of gin making; but also to being a bit rebellious from those traditions and paving a new way for the craft. Thus our name, Scapegrace,” he said.


Sheep, cheese, vodka and sustainability in Tasmania

Hartshorn Distillery, winner of the Beverage of the Year at the 2017 Food & Beverage Industry Awards, uses a cheese making waste product to create alcoholic beverages. Matthew McDonald writes.

About 15 years ago, Ryan Hartshorn’s family moved from Queensland to southern Tasmania with the idea of establishing a dual wine and sheep-cheese-making business.

As Hartshorn, a director and owner of Grandvewe Cheeses and Hartshorn Distillery told Food & Beverage Industry News, given that nobody in the family had experience in these fields, the move was a gamble. His mother Diane Rae did much of the early work. Among other things, she travelled to Europe to learn from experienced cheese makers.

From the outset, sustainability was a key priority for the business. For example, the original idea involved the sheep doing the job of maintaining (eating) the vegetation between the vines. Unfortunately, the sheep weren’t disciplined enough to limit themselves to grass and destroyed the vines themselves. So the vineyard was abandoned in favour of just the cheesery.

Hartshorn Distillery's Ryan Hartshorn (centre) with his sister Nicole Gilliver (left) and his mother Diane Rae (right).
Hartshorn Distillery’s Ryan Hartshorn (centre) with his sister Nicole Gilliver (left) and his mother Diane Rae (right).



Then, three years ago, Hartshorn decided to take another gamble. “I started to get a bit sick of the cheese side of the business and wanted to have my own creation. I decided to learn how to distill. Essentially, I was trying to figure out how I could make a distillery relevant to a cheesery and how they could work together,” he said.

The obvious path would have been to make milk liquors, but Hartshorn wanted to try something different. He had heard about a business in Ireland using cow whey (a cheese making by-product) to make alcohol and decided to try something similar with sheep whey.

“I asked the Irish operation how to do it but they wouldn’t tell me,” he said. So he had to work it out for himself.

The process of using lactose (the complex sugar found in whey) to make alcohol is not simple because fermentation requires a basic (not complex) sugar.

The only way to transform the lactose into a basic sugar is to use enzymes to break down its protein molecules. Hartshorn read about some enzymes that might be able to do this. With the help of some food technologists in Melbourne, and by a long process of trial and error, he identified the right enzymes and then started to develop his products.

Today, Hartshorn Distillery makes Sheep Whey Gin, Sheep Whey Vodka (which took out the aforementioned award) and Vanilla Whey Liqueur. After three years of operation, the distillery has now overtaken the cheesery, accounting for about 60 per cent of the overall business.

Experience is crucial

Hartshorn emphasised the fact that, in his case, taking a risk and innovating was not easy. He advises others considering taking such a step to first make sure they have plenty of experience behind them.

“I don’t think I could have done this if I came straight from working for someone else. I’d worked in my business (the cheesery) for 12 or thirteen years before making this leap,” he said. “So I had a pretty good understanding of the market. I wasn’t in the alcohol industry but there are a lot of similar factors involved. I had an idea what the market wanted.

“Basically, if you want to innovate, you need to do your research. You need to make sure you know what’s out there and what’s not out there, then try and fill those gaps.”

There is another unique aspect to Hartshorn Distillery. All its bottles are hand-painted and one-of-a-kind. As Hartshorn explained, nobody has copied this. “Big companies can’t really do it because of the work involved,” he said.

The distillery has grown by an impressive 600 per cent in the last year and, while Hartshorn is currently focusing his energies on keeping on top of this demand, he conceded that he may have to soon start thinking about adding some new buildings to the operation.

“I’ll keep my range the same but I’ll keep changing the bottle design. I want to do more collector items,” said Hartshorn.

Whatever happens, sustainability will remain important to the business. “We’ve been trying to use our waste almost from the beginning. We do a few other little lesser-known products like making fudge from whey,” he said. “We also make some of our older sheep into a sausage that we sell through our cheesery. And we make a fruit paste that goes with our cheese made from the waste of wine making.”

For more information on the Awards, or to get involved for 2018, click here.

Hartshorn Distillery’s Ryan Hartshorn makes vodka and gin from sheep whey, a cheese making by-product.
Hartshorn Distillery’s Ryan Hartshorn makes vodka and gin from sheep whey, a cheese making by-product.


Cerise Pink Gin by Bass and Flinders Distillery

Back by popular demand after a successful small scale trial of the product in May, Bass and Flinders Distillery will officially release Cerise Gin in time for Spring on Tuesday 12 September.

Cerise is a contemporary gin with subtle hibiscus and orange blossom aromas blended with cherry and raspberry flavours. A playful spirit reveals a balanced velvety finish with a subtle sweetness reminiscent of Turkish delight. Just right for a Gin and Tonic at a fun Springtime garden party or other celebration.

The delicate pink blush of Cerise Gin comes from a unique infusion of cherries and raspberries. Cerise Gin has been made in small batches to yield the best quality spirit that celebrates ingredients from local farms on Red Hill. All gins by Bass and Flinders are handcrafted from grape based spirit.

“Using grape spirit for gin provides another dimension to the gin’s botanicals and adds to the, texture, viscosity and flavour of the spirit.  This, combined with seasonal produce, produces extraordinary spirits,” said Wayne Klintworth, head distiller of Bass and Flinders Distillery.

Cerise gin can be purchased through the distillery’s cellar door or via the website for a limited time.

Bass and Flinders Distillery was founded in 2009 on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. An artisanal distillery, Bass and Flinders Distillery targets a niche market of gin lovers who appreciate seasonal and harvest products such as our Winter gin, Truffle gin & Truffle vodka and our Angry Ant gin.

Bass and Flinders produce grape spirit using a traditional Alembic Pot Still to create a range of eclectic gins and award winning spirits and liqueurs including Vodka, Limoncello, Grappa and of course our outstanding five-year aged brandy, Ochre.

Image: Katherine Jamison Photography

Gin from Adelaide named world’s best

The Adelaide Hills Distillery’s 78 Degrees Gin was awarded the Best International Gin at the American Distilling Institute Awards held last night in Baltimore, Maryland U.S.A.

Apart from this award, judges also awarded the gin a double gold medal.

The awards add to others won by Adelaide Hills Distillery, which took out gold in last year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Artisans in a growing craft spirit industry, the company is planning to open a new distillery later this year as part of the Premium Adelaide Hills Beverage Experience.

“We started out making 78 Degrees Gin and have moved on to creating some other amazing small batch spirits like our Gunnery Australian Spiced White Rum and The Italian, a Campari style spirit, as well as some really unique trial batches and collaborations – but it’s fantastic to see that our original 78 Degrees Gin is now considered to be one of the best in the world” said Sacha La Forgia, Head Distiller and Founder.

“I don’t really like to pick favourites, but this one’s a no brainer really. We use a really unique blend of botanicals and individually vapour infuse each of them. We are just thankful that the judges saw how good the gin coming out of South Australia and the Adelaide Hills really is.

“The future is exciting for us and we have embarked on an intensive Australian Native Botanical Program as well.”

Green ants are flavour of the month in Australian gins

Green ants and other ancient foods from one of the world’s oldest continuous cultures are being used as botanicals in Australian craft gins.

Two distilleries in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia have this month released gins made with green ants, a traditional indigenous food eaten for thousands of years by the Australian Aborigines for their high protein and medicinal benefits.

The gins also use a range of other native botanicals to provide a fresh Australian interpretation of a London Dry Gin.

Applewood Distillery released its Green Ant Gin on Valentine’s Day (February 14) while Something Wild Beverages will launch its Australian Green Ant Gin today (February 22).

Adelaide Hills Distillery is making the gin under contract for newly-formed Something Wild Beverages, a division of native food company Something Wild, which specialises in sustainably sourced indigenous foods such as kangaroo, wallaby, magpie goose, native herbs and fruits.

Adelaide Hills Distillery founder and head distiller Sacha La Forgia said it took him several months to be persuaded to eat green ants and allow them to be put in his still.

“But once I did it was like an incredible flavour explosion in my mouth of lime and coriander flavours as well as a fresh acidic zing,” he said.

“It was just beautiful and I thought straight away ‘wow, they exist to be in gin’.”

A “pinch” of  green ants, which are sourced under permit from the Northern Territory, are also put into the bottles in the same way worms are used in tequila to provide the finishing touch.

“That acidic zing doesn’t carry over in the still so we include some ants in every bottle and it just lifts the palate a bit,” La Forgia said.

“By putting them in the bottle, I’m hoping to encourage people to eat one and taste it.

“When people try one their eyes light up and they get a big smile on their face.”

Other Australian native foods used as botanicals in the gin include finger lime, pepper berry, the native juniper boobialla and leaves from strawberry gum and lemon myrtle trees.


“By using more leaves I was able to use less juniper while still maintaining those same characteristics that you would normally associate with gin,” La Forgia said.

The Australian Green Ant Gin has an ABV of 42 per cent and is priced at AU$97.50 on the Something Wild Beverages website for a 700ml bottle.

The company aims to have national and possibly international distribution for the product, depending on demand.

Under the collaboration between Adelaide Hills Distillery and Something Wild, profits from the botanicals gathered on Aboriginal lands flow back into those Outback communities.

“I think now is quite an important time because we are seeing the popularity of native foods increasing very quickly,” La Forgia said.

“It’s a feel good thing but it’s also very necessary to make sure that these ingredients are sustainable and that they are still there in the future.”

Meanwhile, Applewood Distillery’s Green Ant Gin is almost sold out of its limited edition of 300 bottles. The 500ml bottles are also 42 per cent ABV and cost $120 each.

Previous limited edition gins at the distillery, based in the Adelaide Hills village of Gumeracha, have included torpedoing gin with lavender and distilling gin through saltbush.

The Green Ant Gin features ants sourced under permit from New South Wales as well as a number of other native botanicals.

Head distiller Brendan Carter said the response to the gin had been “insane” and he expected the 300 bottles to be sold out by the end of the month.

He said the main constituent that gave the green ants their distinctive sharp, citrus flavour was formic acid.

“In this particular one we also wanted to emphasise the native citruses, which I think a lot of people are getting their heads around at the moment so there’s finger limes and a little bit of strawberry gum leaf in there too,” Carter said.

“Our limited editions are a complete once off so we’ll do that and move on to something else challenging and uber creative in typical Applewood fashion.”


This article first appeared in The Lead.

Sydney distillery in running for international gin title

A small Western Sydney distillery’s signature creation is in the running to be named the world’s best traditional gin after taking out the Australian title at a prestigious international awards competition.

The family-run Ironbark Distillery in Richmond NSW was awarded the title of Australia’s best traditional gin for its 313 Dry Gin in the World Gin Awards on December 18. The competition is part of the World Drink Awards and features entries from across the globe.

To win the title, Ironbark Distillery shone during a six-month testing program and will now be judged against four international competitors for the world’s best title which will be named on March 30, 2017 at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel in London.

To be named world’s best traditional gin, Ironbark Distillery will take on competitors from Canada, Germany, the UK and USA. The winner of Best Traditional Gin will then also be in the running for the ultimate prize of being named World’s Best Gin.

Master Alchemist and Ironbark Distillery Director Reg Papps says winning the award as Australia’s Best Traditional Gin is a major coup for the young distillery which he opened with his wife Greta just three years ago.

“We’re excited and a little overwhelmed by the award win and the opportunity to be named both the world’s best traditional gin, and potentially, the world’s best gin,” he said.

“Even to be in consideration for such an accolade is more than we could ever have imagined when we took the plunge to put everything on the line and follow our dream to open the distillery. It just reinforces for us that you should never to be scared to try something new, no matter what stage of life you’re at.

The latest accolade is confirmation that the stellar reputation Ironbark Distillery has built so rapidly is well deserved. In just its first year it was named Australian Gin Distillery of the Year (2015) at the Melbourne International Spirit Awards and in 2016 it collected multiple medals at the renowned San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

The distillery produces six products – two gins, two moonshines, a vodka and a chai spirit – with Reg’s creations combining Australian-grown grain with impeccable flavours that are proofed with purified, sterilized water sourced locally.

The spirits are filtered through a carbon filter system built by Reg, made in a specially-designed still and bottled by hand.

Ironbark’s 313 Dry Gin is also in competition at the Chinese Wine and Spirit Awards, the biggest and most prestigious wine and spirits awards across Hong Kong and China. Winners will be decided on February 20.

Asahi releases Mist Wood Gin

Asahi has introduced Mist Wood Gin, designed as an alternative to sparkling, wine and spirits.

Employing principles of apothecary when creating the flavour combinations, Mist Wood Gin challenges the preconceived gin experience by steering away from the traditional tonic-based mixes. Instead, English pot-stilled gin is used and then matched with curated fruit, citrus and bitter flavours to create new taste sensations.

With four varieties available – Apple, Orange and Bitters, Grapefruit and Lime, and Elderflower and Lime, each blend combines contemporary flavours that result in what the company called “a sophisticated ready-to-drink beverage.”

The Mist Wood Gin range has to date won two gold medals at the 2016 Global Spirits Masters.

With the Apple and Grapefruit and Lime both being awarded top prize, the Orange and Bitters and Elderflower and Lime varietals also took out silver medals within the pre-mixed category.

Gin is fast becoming the beverage of choice as it surges in popularity – rapidly encroaching on a territory dominated by vodka, gin has experienced a 20 per cent growth in the average number of monthly drinkers nationwide, the company said.

Containing a 5 per cent ABV in 320ml bottles, Mist Wood Gin is available in in 4 packs, or 6 x 4 pack cases.

Australia’s newest distillery made Pozible by crowdfunding

Australia’s newest distillery, Cape Byron Distillery has launched its first spirit, Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin via Australian crowdfunding platform Pozible.

Created by Eddie Brook and acclaimed Scottish distiller Jim McEwan, Brookie’s captures the unique tastes and flavours of sub-tropical New South Wales.

The distillery itself is nestled in the very heart of the Brook family’s macadamia farm and is surrounded by a lush rainforest.

A traditional “dry style” Gin, Brookie’s is a balanced combination of the traditional and local native botanicals, trickle distilled in a custom hand-made copper pot still.

Jim McEwan said, “We’re bringing a new level of excellence to distillation. When you taste this gin, it tastes pure. You’re tasting a bit of nature, you can taste the salt air, you can taste the fruits and flowers of the rainforest, it has the warmth of the personalities associated with family distillers.”

Brookie’s is a gin also has a strong environmental message. Over the past 30 years the Brook family have planted over 35,000 native trees, mostly sub – tropical rainforest trees. Today the farm is thriving eco system.

A percentage of the profits from every bottle sold will support the work of the local Big Scrub Landcare group, whose sole mission is to protect what’s left of a mighty rainforest and to encourage new plantings.


No, enjoying a gin and tonic doesn’t mean you’re a psychopath

I was looking at Facebook one evening last week when my attention was captured by the headline “Gin lovers are all massive psychopaths, according to experts” – a somewhat disconcerting thing to read as I sipped the gin and tonic I had in my hand at the time.

As someone whose propensity to empathise with others has seen me spend entire evenings crying over the plight of movie characters, psychopathy has never made its way onto my list of self-diagnoses.

I instantly felt compelled to learn more about how a penchant for gin had become the new diagnostic tool to detect a psychopath. The short story is, it hasn’t.

I determined this reasonably efficiently. A search for the word “gin” in the research paper that prompted this news story produced a grand total of zero hits.

It’s therefore rather concerning that this paper has spawned a huge number of popular articles all reporting this non-existent link, such as this one that has been shared on Facebook nearly 300,000 times.

Depending on what you read, if you’re partial to a gin and tonic you are either a psychopath, or slightly more generously, a possible psychopath.

Other stories have cast the net a bit wider, branding coffee and beer drinkers as potential psychopaths too – which, if you think about it, would make society a pretty scary place.

Booze news

These news stories are misreported accounts of research from the University of Innsbruck. Across two studies, the researchers investigated the relationship between bitter taste preferences and various antisocial personality traits, including psychopathy.

While many tend to think of it as a disorder that afflicts only the most calculating of criminals, psychopathy is also conceptualised as a personality trait that falls along a continuum, with those at the extreme end characterised by superficial charm, callousness, and a lack of empathy.

The researchers measured psychopathy using a brief personality measure that assesses three socially undesirable personality traits: psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism – collectively known as the “dark triad”.

Participants indicated their agreement with statements such as “I tend to be callous or insensitive” and “I tend to lack remorse”. Responses were then averaged to create a score for psychopathy and the other traits.

The researchers measured bitter taste preferences in two ways. First, participants were provided with a list of 10 bitter foods and drinks, including coffee, tonic water, beer, radishes and celery, and rated them on a scale from 1 (dislike strongly) to 6 (like strongly). These scores were then averaged to create an overall measure of bitter taste preferences for each person. The researchers also asked participants to rate their liking for bitter foods and drinks in general (as opposed to the specific examples) on the same scale.

The bitter truth

The results reported no significant relationship between psychopathy scores and participants’ preference scores for the specific bitter foods and drinks. That is, those with higher psychopathy scores did not display stronger overall liking for the bitter foods and drinks on the list, including tonic water, coffee and beer.

However, there was a weak correlation between psychopathy scores and participants’ scores on their general preference for bitter tastes. So you might say that people at the psychopathic end of the spectrum are slightly more likely to express a preference for eating or drinking bitter things in general.

How on earth do these findings translate to people who drink gin, coffee or beer being probable psychopaths? Quite simply, they don’t.

The study provided no evidence that an individual’s preference for specific bitter drinks like coffee, beer or tonic water (with or without gin) has any relationship with psychopathy. Even if it had, this would fall a long way short of being able to brand anyone who enjoys a G&T as a psychopath.

The only thing this study found was a weak positive relationship between psychopathy and a general penchant for bitter things. In my view, this link is negligible compared with other, more well established predictors of psychopathy, such as a person’s genes or sex.

If you want to know whether someone is a psychopath, the truth is that most will reveal themselves soon enough, especially if you know the telltale signs – which don’t include whether or not they’re brandishing an aperitif.

The Conversation

Megan Willis, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, Australian Catholic University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.