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Inaugural Australian Whisky Awards

Sunday 21st March 2021 saw us in Sydney attending the Inaugural Australian Whisky Awards where we had been nominated in 4 of the 6 categories; Whisky Distillery of the Year, Whisky Distiller/Producer of the Year, Whisky of the Year and Dram of the Decade. We were over the moon to have been nominated.

How did these awards work? The first phase was a nomination round, anyone in the public and within the industry could nominate their personal choices for the people/businesses they felt were deserving in each category. Once all nominations were collated and processed, the top 20 nominated names were created in each category for the purpose of voting. We were stoked to have made it to here!!!

For the second phase, anyone was able to go online and vote in each category on a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place basis. Then, a group of 50 industry people were selected as judges to submit their votes, these were weighted to recognise industry knowledge and insights. The judges were a mix of distillers and producers (not involved with whisky), brand ambassadors, bar trade folks, retailers and writers.

The event was held in the Crystal Palace at Luna Park with around 200 people in attendance. We enjoyed a 5 course meal, with of course, a stellar selection of Australian whiskies, during which the awards were presented. This was then followed by a live performance by Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon).

We came away with a silver for Whisky Distillery of the Year, silver for Distiller/Producer of the Year, Silver for Dram of the Decade, and Copper for Whisky of the Year.

We also witnessed the first inductee, Bill Lark, into the Australian Whisky Hall of Fame. This was an emotional moment with heartfelt speeches from Kristy Booth-Lark, Dan Woolley and Andrew Young. Bill’s induction had us looking back at the path that the Australian whisky industry has taken and the huge influence that he, Lyn and Kristy have had on its development. We are eternally grateful for the work these guys have done and the support they have offered to so many over the years.

Scott Fitzsimons was the perfect MC, steered the event like a veteran and conjured up a seamless flow in the proceedings. We thoroughly enjoyed the awards and were extremely happy, and to be honest quite surprised, to take away some hardware among such quality competition. To create an event of this calibre in such a short time was impressive to say the least, Niko, Brad and co. did an outstanding job and deserve to be well praised. We are looking forward to attending again next year.


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