Yarra Valley-based distillery Four Pillars has been declared the International Gin Producer of the Year for the second consecutive year at the 51st International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) announced last night in London.
The IWSC is the world’s longest-running, largest and most prestigious spirits competition with more than 4000 entries from distilleries across the globe. In 2019, Four Pillars was the first Australian distillery to win any International Producer of the Year title and going back-to-back cements its position at the very top of the world of gin producers large and small.
As with so many events in 2020, the normally glamorous black-tie awards ceremony in London’s Guildhall was replaced with an on-line event on YouTube Premieres.
The International Gin Producer of the Year award is given by the IWSC to the distillery that has not only performed best in the competition with its individual products but has also led the category in innovation and excellence across the year.
To win International Gin Producer of the Year for a second time was almost too much for Co-founder and Distiller, Cameron Mackenzie.
“After the year we’ve had and the exhaustion we have felt, I couldn’t quite believe it when they called out our name. I was wearing my full kilt for good luck, same as I did last year in London, and I don’t think I will take it off all day, maybe all week.
“This is a triumph for strength over adversity, for professionalism and passion in the face of what sometimes in 2020 seemed insurmountable odds. This is a victory for every single person in the Four Pillars world but most particularly for everyone at Healesville who has faced so much uncertainty and difficulty this year but has never stopped putting in the hard yards.”
“I am now off for a socially distanced drink or two…who’d have thought that phrase would be uttered a year ago!”
In 2020, Four Pillars Gin secured its first two major UK retail listings with the launch of cult favourite Bloody Shiraz Gin in Waitrose, followed by Modern Australian Gin in M&S earlier this month.M&S will also stock the Shiraz grape steeped gin.
Four Pillars Gin was established in 2013 in the Yarra Valley on the outskirts of Melbourne and has become one of the world’s benchmark distilleries, Australia’s number one craft spirit and a leading light in the Australian and global gin revolution.
Four Pillars wants to congratulate the three other finalists in the International Gin Producer of the Year category; Kangaroo Island Spirits, Herno from Sweden, and the Zamora Company, owner of Martin Miller’s.
The IWSC Award for International Gin Producer of the Year is recognition of Four Pillars’ leading role in the world of gin in 2020. Both the Bloody Shiraz Gin and Rare Dry Gin won Gold Medals at the competition.
“Producer trophies are the pinnacle of achievement,” said IWSC head of tastings, Pip Mortimer. “They reward the overall portfolio, ethos and achievement of companies that enter the IWSC.”
In 2020, Four Pillars has released the much-lauded Olive Leaf Gin, continued to grow its Bloody Shiraz and Rare Dry gins availability across the world and opened a world-class Laboratory in Sydney’s Surry Hills.
Four Pillars was founded by Cameron Mackenzie alongside drinks industry veteran Stuart Gregor and creative brand strategist Matt Jones in 2013 and the business took on a partnership with LION (a subsidiary of Kirin) as a 50% shareholder in April 2019.
The three founders remain at the helm of the business and Four Pillars is today distributed in more than 30 markets across the world.
Four Pillars today produces around 600,000 bottles of gin per year, making it Australia’s leading gin distillery. Australia continues its gin boom which has seen the local product grow 19.3 % year-on-year and over five years by a huge 34.3% (IWSR 2020).