Celebrating gin excellence
The Icons of Gin awards are intent on finding the very best people, products and places within the world of gin. They celebrate the hard work that goes into every bottle, the stories behind each brand, the retailers who open the world up to us and the bars that provide wonderful settings for us discover new favourites. Since their inception, these awards have shown a heartwarming camaraderie between gin professionals – one of the aspects that makes it such a wonderful industry to work within.
Distillery Attraction of the Year
A mill has been on site at Laverstoke since at least 903AD, however the Domesday Book of 1086 marked Laverstoke Mill as a corn mill. Henry Portal leased Laverstoke Mill in 1719, where he made quality hand-made paper. Bombay Sapphire transformed the site through a combination of respect for its past and consideration to sustainability. Today, it showcases the natural beauty alongside its industrial heritage.
Visitors to Bombay Sapphire’s Laverstoke Mill can discover the artistry and heritage behind the brand alongside the stunning River Test. Experiences include a self-discovery or hosted tour, an interactive horticulture tour or a gin cocktail masterclass. The Mill Bar is a fitting finale in which you can enjoy your favourite tipple.
Craft Producer of the Year
Proudly claiming to be the first gin-dedicated distillery in Brazil, Amázzoni uses only local ingredients and a Brazilian attitude towards production philosophy and manufacturing. Housed in Paraíba, roughly 130km away from Rio de Janeiro, botanicals include cocoa, Brazilian chestnut, maxixe, victoria regia and cipò cravo, along with more traditional juniper, pink pepper, laurel, lemon, tangerine and coriander. Its flagship product, Amázzoni Gin, is packaged in recycled glass with a nod to Renaissance medicine bottles. The distillery offers experiences to the public with private distillation sessions and food paired with the local botanicals.
The Cotswolds Distillery
Brand Innovator of the Year
Sponsored by Multi Packaging Solutions
Based in Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh Gin is a small-batch distillery producing a range of gins and gin liqueurs that marry flavours we have dreamed of and some we would never expect. It proudly produces every bottle at its West End and Leith distilleries. Since 2010, its team, which includes head distiller David Wilkinson and former professional chef Finlay Nicol, has committed to both art and science in creating a range that features a classic London Dry, Seaside Gin, the Navy Strength Cannonball Gin, Pomegranate and Rose Liqueur and Rhubarb and Ginger Liqueur. Seasonally, it also produces the frankincense and myrrh distilled Christmas Gin, full of yuletide spirit.
Producer of the Year
Hernö Gin proudly claims to be the most awarded gin in Europe across the past four years, with the recent addition being awarded World’s Best Gin for the second year in a row. In 1999 Jon Hillgren fell in love with gin after working in some of London’s bars. Jon founded Hernö in 2011 with his wife, twin sister, her husband and a family friend. At the time it was Sweden’s first dedicated gin distillery and the northernmost in the world, located in the village of Dala. The team draws inspiration from the beautiful surroundings and has created an organic, artisan gin that remains true to its Swedish heritage.
Everything at the distillery is done by hand, from distilling to bottling, labeling and finally numbering. Jon’s mother, Yvonne, is one of the distillery’s chiefs behind the scenes and is the one who numbers every single bottle.
Multiple Outlets Retailer of the Year
Sponsored by Caorunn
Marks & Spencer
Starting out as a Penny Bazaar in Leeds Kirkgate Market in 1884 when founded by Michael Marks, today Marks & Spencer has 1,025 UK stores and a further 454 around the globe. It truly is a high-street icon and has a growing reputation for stocking interesting and exciting gins, ranging from the well-known to the up-and-coming.
Online Retailer of the Year
Sponsored by Caorunn
Master of Malt
Master of Malt’s website offers consumers one of the most expansive ranges of gins to be found anywhere in the world. The site’s simple navigation and offer of producer facts and tasting notes demonstrates its knowledge and experience of the gin industry. Its own brands have added to the overall offering without compromising range and variety.
Single Outlet Retailer of the Year
Sponsored by Caorunn
Located in the heart of London’s Mayfair since August 2012, Hedonism has already become the talk of the town thanks to its range of fine wine and spirits. Visitors can expect the highest level of customer service from the store’s specialists and fine details, including temperature and humidity controlling and heat-free lights, which keep everything in pristine condition. Its range of more than 150 gins is sure to have something for everyone.
Keelham Farm Shop
Supermarket of the Year
Sponsored by Caorunn
Waitrose started life as a single store in Acton, West London in 1904. Today it has more than 200 stores across the UK and aspires to the founders’ original intention to ‘lift the food trade to a higher plane.’ Its in-store offering features many respected UK producers, while online it offers a users’ guide to gin.
Travel Retailer of the Year
Sponsored by Caorunn
Heinemann is on hand across more than 25 European airports, ready to offer travellers a range of gins and genevers. It proudly displays traditional gins as well as young and innovative brands, such as Bareksten and Berliner Brandstifter.
Hotel Bar of the Year
One part of The Distillery’s array of gin-orientated activities, GinTonica’s menu features a list of 100 gins from around the world, matched to contemporary mixers and garnishes. Its food and cocktail menu has a Spanish twist married with British tradition. Overnight visitors can book a stay in rooms with a stunning view over London’s Portobello Road.
Bar of the Year
40 St Paul’s
With hundreds of gins and full table service for customers, Birmingham’s 40 St Paul’s offers an intimate, comfortable environment in which to enjoy a G&T or cocktail. Every gin on offer has been hand-picked for a reason, whether that be historical importance or taste experience.
Bar Group of the Year
London Cocktail Club
The loud and extrovert London Cocktail Club opened its doors for the first time in 2008 with the intention of creating a bartenders’ paradise. Its bars across London offer membership, takeover events and masterclasses. Each bar promises a party to remember.
Distiller of the Year
Lesley Gracie has worked with William Grant & Sons for nearly 30 years and, together with John Ross, crafted the recipe for Hendrick’s Gin in 1999. Considered by many to have one of the best noses in the gin world, her chemistry background, talent for innovation and natural curiosity have marked her as one of the standout figures in the industry.
Distillery Attraction Manager of the Year
Emma is a gin and whisky writer living in Scotland’s Speyside, who started at Balmenach Distillery in April 2016 as a visitor experience operator. Previously she has worked with William Grant & Sons at Glenfiddich Distillery, The SMWS and The Station Hotel in Rothes. Each of these experiences helps Emma deliver a world-class experience to Caorunn’s visitors.
Tor Petter Christensen
Bivrost Aurora Spirits
Genever Brand Ambassador of the Year
Michael was appointed by Lucas Bols in 2016 having formerly worked for the City of London Distillery. A familiar and well-respected face on London’s bar scene, Michael is known for his spirits knowledge and uses it to inspire and educate about the world of genever.
Old Duff Genever
Gin Brand Ambassador of the Year
Dan joined Ableforth’s in 2015 as ambassador to the north of England, Midlands and Scotland. In this capacity he has organised tastings for both the on and off-trade, developed innovative and forward-thinking POS for the brand and devised interactive training programmes.
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