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.
Visitor Attraction of the Year
Bluecoat Gin pays homage to Philadelphia’s former status as a “workshop of the world” and to the so-called Bluecoats who took up arms against British rule in America ahead of the Revolutionary War. Philadelphia Distilling has put its own “revolutionary” processes on display for visitors on its distillery tours, which also offer the chance to taste the Bluecoat family of gins.
City of Manchester Distillery Gin Experience
Craft Producer of the Year
Sponsored by Wade Ceramics
From its flagship product Pink Pepper Gin, French producer Audemus has expanded its range in weird and wonderful directions to great acclaim. Along with many enticing limited-edition gins, its portfolio also includes the cognac-based Covert Liqueur, contemporary aperitif Sepia Amer, and Umami Spirit made with Italian capers and parmesan cheese. Production takes place in distiller Miko’s living room in Cognac, demonstrating the brand’s dedication to the small-batch approach.
Brand Innovator of the Year
Sponsored by WestRock
After making a name for itself in beer, East of England brewer Adnams turned its hand to distilling and has since built up a portfolio of brands which push the boundaries. Look to its Rising Sun Gin, made with Japanese matcha tea, its triple-malted vodka and whisky, or its Spirit of Broadside, distilled from the popular Suffolk ale. It has also made a splash in the ready-to-drink gin market.
Distiller of the Year
Sponsored by Hrastnik1860
Adelaide Hills Distillery
Former winemaker Sacha La Forgia pledged to put Australian produce at the heart of his spirits when he founded Adelaide Hills Distillery in 2014. His flagship product, 78° Gin, used a variety of locally sourced ingredients and earned him a reputation for producing top-notch small-batch gin. The distillery’s current product range, which includes vermouths and the sell-out Native Grain Whisky, showcases its evolution as a spirit producer.
Aviation American Gin
Sustainable Distillery of the Year
Cape Byron Distillery
Pam and Martin Brook built sustainability into their distillery from the ground up. After buying the site in 1988 they planted 35,000 subtropical rainforest trees, which now provide botanicals for their Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin as well as a haven for wildlife. The distillery is also a supporter of Big Scrub Landcare, which maintains what is left of the Big Scrub rainforest area in which it sits.
Communications Agency of the Year
Creative PR & Marketing
Based in Athens, Greece, Ally provides PR and marketing solutions for clients through business consulting and mentoring, creative content, social media strategy, corporate social responsibility and “green” marketing. Its broad roster of clients includes spirits companies and other food and drink brands.
Gin Bar Group of the Year
With locations around the UK from Birmingham to Newcastle, The Botanist bars bring together creative cocktails, hearty food menus and regular live music. The group encourages visitors to its bars to explore a secret garden of food and drink, where its “botanists” have foraged high and low to curate a host of food and drink delights. For the more horticulturally minded visitor, cocktail masterclasses are available.
London Cocktail Club
Gin Bar of the Year
Proving that you can do two things well simultaneously, this venue combines barber shop and cocktail bar and remains a crowd-pleaser. Opened in 2013, the bar – hidden behind the York Street barber’s shop – boasts a selection of more than 700 gins and a cocktail range including signature sips and gin “flights”. Even the food menu is punctuated with
Bitter and Twisted Cocktail Parlour
Gin Hotel Bar of the Year
The American Bar
The carefully curated selection of gins at The Savoy’s American Bar ensures a top-quality sip, whether in one of its signature cocktails or in a classic serve with tonic. Head bartender, Maxim Schulte, is the force behind its latest cocktail collection, The Savoy Songbook, which reimagines classic hits in the form of lip-smacking libations.
Little Rituals, Residence Inn by Marriott
Online Retailer of the Year
Created by the founders of Vanquish Wines and drinks distributor to London’s top on-trade venues, 31Dover is the UK’s fastest-growing online drinks retailer. With industry expertise and strength behind it, the retailer’s virtual shelves are carefully curated and every bottle is tried and tested to receive the 31Dover seal of approval.
Master of Malt
Multiple Outlets Retailer of the Year
Founded in Chicago in 1948, Binny’s Beverage Depot is the Midwest’s largest wine, spirits and beer superstore. The family firm has 42 locations in Illinois serving up more than 30,000 products in-store and online. As well as beverage sales, Binny’s publishes cocktails recipes, runs product “hotlines” and organises events such as Bourbon Women Night.
Single Outlet Retailer of the Year
Billington’s of Lenzie
This delicatessen and eatery in Lenzie, Scotland serves up a range of homemade, artisan and locally sourced produce including beer, wines and spirits. Its selection of more than 100 gins is a celebration of Scottish distillers, with products such as Eden Mill gins from St Andrews, Glasgow Gin and Rock Rose, as well as two house gins.
Batch 13 DC
Supermarket of the Year
As it rides a wave of increasing popularity in the UK, the budget retailer is ensuring that its product ranges keep up with the expectations of its growing pool of shoppers. Its range of own-branded spirits, including whisky, gin and vodka, has stayed effectively up-to-date with spirits trends and as such has proved a hit with consumers and industry.
Travel Retailer of the Year
This airport retailer offers a selection of some of the world’s most premium wines and spirits across a range of locations. Choose from Johnny Walker Red Label Scotch, Hennessy XO Grand Champagne, Camus L’Elegant, Chivas Regal, Martell Cordon Bleu and Absolut Vodka among a host of other well-known names.
World Duty Free
Own Brand 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.
Bartender of the Year
The Gin Room, St Louis
Engineer-turned-bartender Dale Kyd developed his passion for hospitality as a college student, but his first trip to The Gin Room was a game-changer. Since being offered a job at the St Louis venue by legendary owner Natasha Bahrami, he hasn’t looked back and has dedicated himself to furthering both the bar and his bartending skillset.
Connaught Bar, London
Bar Manager of the Year
Travelling to Japan from France via India, Christophe spent 10 years pursuing his passion as a magician before discovering mixology. He was trained by two of the sector’s top professionals before opening L’Escamoteur (roughly translated as The Illusionist). Based on a fin-de-siècle “magician’s house”, Christophe’s venue specialises in gin and whisky-based cocktails and has developed an international fan base.
The Leafy Elephant, Wokingham
Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year
Alison has looked after the distillery shop and tours programme at Cotswolds Distillery since 2017 and oversaw the distillery’s rise to number one in TripAdvisor’s ranking of visitor attractions in the Cotswolds in 2018, beating more established attractions such as Gloucester Cathedral and the Royal Gardens at the Highgrove Estate.
Gin Ambassador of the Year
Sling Shot Distilled Irish Gin
Sling Shot Distilled Irish Gin was launched in 2018, the first product to come out of Lough Ree Distillery’s micro-distillery in Lanesborough, Co Longford, Ireland. Brand ambassador Aidan Conroy has thrown himself behind the spirit (the first and currently only spirit to be distilled with peat as a botanical), promoting it at events including Gin Week 2019 and Bar Convent Berlin.
Gin Buyer of the Year
A Stirling-based shop with a sterling selection which gives pride of place to Scottish products, from bigger players such as Edinburgh Gin to craft distillers foraging in the Highlands. With a mission to make spirits and wines more accessible, Jack has grown the shop from strength to strength since it opened in 2017 and now provides tasting clubs and other events alongside the retail operation.
Communicator of the Year
The Gin Queen
Launched in 2013, The Gin Queen is now Australia’s biggest gin-related blog and has expanded to encompass cocktail recipes and interviews with industry movers and shakers. Founder Caroline is the owner of Gin Queen on Tour, an Australian ambassador for World Gin Day, partner and organiser for Junipalooza Melbourne, and was the first Australian member of the Gin Guild.
The Bearded Gin Guy
Designer of the Year
Adam Hill’s collaboration with Cape Town craft producer Unit 43 Distilling Company on their flagship gin The Prospector shows that almost as much thought has gone into the packaging as into the spirit housed within. Not for the first time has inspiration been drawn from Adam’s illustration-led design, with the ornate paper wrapping giving way to a sleek black bottle, providing two striking angles to the brand.
Estudio de Design
Distillery Manager of the Year
Former cosmetics company owner Andrew was instrumental in setting up Philadelphia Distillery in 2005 – the first new producer in Pennsylvania since Prohibition and one of only a few dozen craft distillers in the US at the time. He has since helped his “truly Philadelphian distillery” to prosperity, from supporting the launch of its flagship Bluecoat Gin to overseeing its move to a new $4.5 million distillery in 2017.
Dr Garrison Ellam
Arizona Craft Beverage
Master Distiller of the Year
Archie Rose Distilling Co.
Born into a family of winemakers, Dave carved a new path in distilling and has developed a particular interest in the science of spirits production. He has been instrumental in driving product innovation at Archie Rose, such as the Summer Gin Project releases, a collaborative series with tattoo artist Horisumi and two gins produced with Sydney Opera House.
The Kyoto Distillery
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