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
Creating its gins and gin liqueurs across two distilleries in Scotland’s capital, the Edinburgh Gin Distillery & Visitor Centre, Westend, is a destination like no other. Ranked in the top 20 visitor attractions in Edinburgh, visitors are guided through how the team produces its gins with tours running seven days a week. A variety of tours are offered, with one option teaching guests the history of gin and ending up with them creating their own. Of course, G&Ts are available as and when required.
Craft Producer of the Year
The Kyoto Distillery
The founders of The Kyoto Distillery claim that for them, they could only have called Kyoto home for their gin brand. The city affords them an abundance of raw materials, but it is perhaps what the city represents, with its history and pride, that truly speaks volumes about the distillery. Its Ki No Bi gins are now frequently found behind bars across the globe and follow the tradition for excellent Japanese produce.
The Cotswolds Distillery
Brand Innovator of the Year
Sponsored by Multi Packaging Solutions
That Boutique-y Gin Company
That Boutique-y Gin Company offers a portfolio of products that truly blows the mind. Bottling gins from distilleries across the globe, gin lovers watch the lid being lifted on products that might have been distillery experiments, never to see the light of day, had That Boutique-y not come around. Recently, a collection of gins based on olfactory sense was released, bringing life to Dead King Gin and Beware of the Woods Gin. We’ve also been lucky enough to see them reveal Proper Pink Gin, Cold Brew Coffee and even launch botanicals to space. 2019 will surely prove to be another year of innovation and we cannot wait to see what’s next.
Producer of the Year
A name that needs little introduction to spirits fanatics. In a time when ‘craft’ is still the word on everyone’s lips, Diageo’s gins – in particular Gordon’s and Tanqueray – show no sign of calling time, along with no little artistry and execution. The launch of two new Tanqueray expressions shows a brand that is adapting for the times, while its flagship Tanqueray No.TEN is still a favourite for many. Meanwhile, Gordon’s Pink Gin has played its part in the growing demand for pink gins.
Ian Macleod Distillers
Single Outlet Retailer of the Year
A winner in these awards for two years in a row, such success speaks volumes for this retailer’s reputation in the industry. Located in the heart of London’s Mayfair since August 2012, Hedonism has already become the talk of the town, due to its range of fine wines and spirits. Visitors can expect the highest level of customer service from the store’s specialists and finer details, including temperature, heat-free lights and humidity control to ensure the perfect conditions for sampling and that everything’s in pristine condition. Its range of well over 150 gins is sure to have something for everybody.
The Whisky Exchange
Multiple Outlet Retailer of the Year
Don’t let the name fool you – Majestic Wine does more than it says on the tin. With more than 200 stores in the UK alone, along with an outlet in Calais, France, its gin range covers household UK brands and some quirky numbers from across the globe. Its in-store staff are no less qualified to talk about gin than they are wines, so expect a high level of comprehensive customer service and maybe even a sample or two.
Online Retailer of the Year
Master of Malt
Another year of success for Master of Malt in these awards and in many ways, it is a standard for other online retailers to aspire to. Master of Malt’s website offers consumers one of the most comprehensive ranges of world gins to be found across the globe. The site’s simple navigation and offering of producer facts and tasting notes demonstrates a knowledge that has garnered the retailer a reputation for being the go-to destination for gin online.
Supermarket of the Year
Waitrose started life as a single store in Acton, West London in 1904. Today it has more than 200 stores across the United Kingdom and aspires to the founders’ original intention to ‘lift the food trade to a higher plane.’ Its in-store gin offering features many respected UK producers, while online it offers a users’ guide to the spirit. Regionally, it has developed a great reputation for supporting local gin producers, helping them to gain a foothold in the market.
Own Brand Gin Supermarket of the Year
Lidl’s range of own-branded gins spans the current direction of the gin trend that we see growing in the UK, showing a supermarket with its finger on the pulse. While many would be struck by the low prices offered both in-store and online, the gins available also deliver great quality.
Travel Retailer of the Year
World Duty Free
World Duty Free offers a truly exceptional range of gins for travellers either looking to pick up a bottle of something special or an expression rooted in the area they’ve been travelling in. With exclusive sizes, packaging and in some cases expressions, World Duty Free is the standard that other travel retailers aspire to when it comes to offering gin. Its Heathrow outlets have a fantastic range of UK gins ranging from classics to hidden gems, while recently there has also been an emergence of intriguing bottles from other parts of the world, in particular Japan.
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, while the menu helps guests pick the right one for their tastes.
Bar Group of the Year
Inception launched in 2009 with its speakeasy, Barts, bucking a trend that saw many bars closing at the height of the UK’s recession. Today, it is perhaps best known, especially amongst gin fans, for its Mr Fogg’s chain, with bars across London each offering different gins and serves from across the globe. 2018 didn’t see the group slow down, with its Mr Fogg’s House of Botanicals a standout addition.
London Cocktail Club
Hotel Bar of the Year
There are few bars across the world that can claim to offer a distinct drinking experience, yet a Martini at Dukes is one such experience. That Dukes is also one of the standout places to stay in London means that it is practically a must-visit for any gin fan in the capital. The venue oozes class, with its head bartender, Alessandro Palazzi, demanding high standards from his team. Despite its formidable reputation, it’s a welcoming environment and great place to catch up over a drink.
The Savoy, London
Bartender of the Year
Sager + Wilde, London
Marcis’ reach as a bartender goes far beyond just gin. His rise to bartending fame came as winner of the Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix in 2010, while he has recently helped to drive interest in mezcal. A partner behind Sager + Wilde, look out for the Chinotto Negroni and Fino Martini.
The Gin Room, St. Louis
Distiller of the Year
A graduate of the Brewing and Distilling MSc at Heriot-Watt University, Dave Wilkinson previously worked in a bank before undertaking his studies. Embracing the challenging opportunities that come with being a distiller, his creative approach opened doors with Edinburgh Gin which was seeking someone who matched its own ambitions. Enjoying his gin either neat, or with equal parts gin-to-tonic, his knowledge and direction has seen Edinburgh Gin establish itself as a pioneer in the UK gin market.
Copper Rivet Distillery
Distillery Attraction Manager of the Year
Bombay Sapphire, Laverstoke Mill
Having worked with Bombay Sapphire’s parent company, Bacardi, for nearly seven years, Charlotte has helped establish the brand’s Laverstoke Mill site as one of the UK’s premier visitor attractions and a pioneer in the gin tourism category. Overseeing daily operations at Laverstoke Mill alongside sister site, Dewar’s Aberfeldy, Charlotte is responsible for around 50 employees and drives the strategic development of these brand homes.
Isle of Wight Distillery
Gin Brand Ambassador of the Year
Steph Di Camillo
That Boutique-y Gin Company
With a background in bartending and as a brand ambassador that has taken in both cities across the globe and spirits ranging from gin to cachaça, Steph Di Camillo joined That Boutique-y Gin Company as a brand ambassador in 2017. With the brand’s diverse approach, that broad range of experience has proven a great fit. A strong social media presence helps drive the brand she represents while innovative serves have introduced gins to a wider and more experimental audience.
Genever Brand Ambassador of the Year
Crystal Chasse joined Lucas Bols in 2017 as the New York brand ambassador for its genever. Crystal tended bar in San Francisco establishments including Blackbird and Dirty Habit. On moving to New York, she worked as a bartender at Seamstress, helping to curate its cocktail menu. She was a regional finalist for Bombay Sapphire’s Most Imaginative Bartender.
Old Duff Genever
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