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Gin boom brings new record for IWSC entries

The International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) has announced the results of the 2016 competition for spirits, revealing a record year for entries into the competition – partly driven by the surge in number of gin brands launched over the last three years.

Whisk(e)y and gin emerge as this year’s category leaders, with 200% more entries into the gin category since 2013 and a 35% uplift year on year for the worldwide whiskey category

Following news that the IWSC had enjoyed a 17% increase in spirits entries, Ewan Lacey, IWSC managing director, said, “The significant growth of new entries over the last few years are testament to the continuing advancement and innovation of our entrants. An increase of 200% in gin entries since 2013 reflects the boom in the category worldwide and we are delighted that producers continue to choose the IWSC to benchmark and promote their products.”

The top 200 winners of the spirits competition were showcased at the annual Spirits Tasting event on 27 July, which was co-hosted by the IWSC and the Worshipful Company of Distillers at
London’s Vintners Hall.

This year once again, Scotland swept the board, winning five trophies and 427 medals, as well as taking home 73 of the Gold and Gold Outstanding accolades. Gold medal winners included Waitrose’s 16-Year-Old Highlands Scotch Whisky, Hankey Bannister’s Heritage Blend, The Blended Whisky Company’s The Golden Age Blend as well The Balvenie Thirty. As the category continues to innovate with travel retail exclusives and cask finishes, the competition saw an entry increase of 10% from 2015 with an 88% entry increase over the past three years.

Whisk(e)y and gin emerge as this year’s category leaders, with 200% more entries into the gin category since 2013 and a 35% uplift year on year for the worldwide whiskey category.

This year’s competition featured entries from Myanmar, India and Taiwan; who’s Kavalan Distillery was awarded three Gold medals as well as a Gold Outstanding for its Kavalan Solist Port Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky.

In the Gin tasting, Cumbria’s Bedrock Gin produced by Spirits of the Lakes achieved a Gold medal. Other significant growth areas in the competition since 2013 were Shochu, with a 300% growth, Rum with 83% growth and 44% growth for the liqueur category.

Launched in 2015, this year saw the return of the Gin & Tonic and Bloody Mary categories, and the addition of the Vodka & Tonic category in partnership with Fever Tree. Vodrock, last year’s Bloody Mary Trophy winners, picked up the inaugural Vodka & Tonic trophy with Herno Export Strength Gin securing,the Gin & Tonic trophy and Swiss Vodka Inc’s Elation Hemp Flavoured Vodka awarded the Bloody Mary Trophy.

2016 Spirit Trophy winners:

  • Cognac Trophy – Richelieu XO, Distell Ltd
  • Fruit Spirits Trophy supported by Arthur Nagele – Macardo Vielle Prune, Macardo Destillerie
  • London Dry Gin Trophy sponsored by the Gin Guild – Star of Bombay, Bacardi Global Brands Inc.
  • Contemporary Style Gin Trophy sponsored by the Gin Guild – Purity Gin, Purity Vodka AB
  • Pomace Brandy Trophy – Sibona Grappa Riserva affinata in Botti da Porto, Distilleria Sibona S.p.A
  • Worldwide Brandy Trophy sponsored by Distell – Van Ryn’s 12-Year-Old Distiller’s Reserve, Distell
  • Liqueur Trophy – Tea Liqueur Jossie Earl Grey, S.A.E.G.B
  • Rum Trophy – Foursquare 2006, R L Seale & Company Limited
  • Sake Trophy – Junmai Daiginjo Aonomu “Blue Label”, Yaegaki Sake & Spirits Inc.
  • Shochu/Soju Trophy – Shochu iichiko SPECIAL, Sanwa Shurui Co., Ltd.
  • Tequila Trophy supported by The Spirits of Mexico Festival – Tequila El Tesoro Anejo Tequila, Beam Suntory
  • Vodka Trophy – Count Pushkin Vodka, Distell Ltd
  • Bourbon Trophy – Jim Beam® Black, Beam Suntory
  • Worldwide Whiskey Trophy supported by Whiskies of the World – Knob Creek Rye Whiskey, Beam Suntory
  • Scotch Whisky Trophy (Single Malt Scotch Whisky over 15 Years) – Balblair Vintage 1990,
    International Beverage
  • Scotch Whisky Trophy (Single Malt Scotch Whisky No Age Statement) – Kilchoman Sanaig Kilchoman, Distillery Co Ltd
  • Scotch Whisky Trophy (Single Malt Scotch Whisky 15 Years and Under) – The Balvenie DoubleWood 12-Year-Old, William Grant & Sons Distillers Ltd
  • Scotch Whisky Trophy (Cask Strength Scotch Whisky) sponsored by Whyte & Mackay- Aberlour A’bunadh, Chivas Brothers
  • Scotch Whisky Trophy (The Independence Trophy for Blended Scotch Whisky) sponsored by William Grant & Sons – The Golden Age Blend, ATOM Supplies Ltd
  • Bloody Mary Trophy – Swiss Vodka, Inc. Elation Hemp Flavored Vodka
  • Gin & Tonic Trophy supported by Fever Tree – Hernö Gin AB, Hernö Export Strength Gin
  • Vodka & Tonic Trophy supported by Fever Tree – Vodrock, UG VODROCK
  • Best Packaging Design Range of the Year – (Archie Rose Original Vodka, Archie Rose Signature Dry Gin, Archie Rose White Rye), Archie Rose Distilling Co.
  • Best Gin Packaging of the Year – Dorset Dry Gin, Conker Spirit
  • Best Vodka Packaging of the Year – Stateside Urbancraft Vodka, Federal Distilling

Click here for the full list of IWSC 2016 results.

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