Four Pillars Gin named gin producer of the year at top spirits competition

Australia's Four Pillars Gin has been named 2019 International Gin Producer of the Year at the International Wine and Spirits Competition.

Next to Sullivans Cove winning World's Best Single Malt three times in five years, it is surely the most significant feat achieved by one of our distillers on the world stage.

The trophy was accepted by 4 Pillars distiller Cam Mackenzie in London on Thursday night as his co-founders and employees watched the ceremony live from the distillery in Healesville, Victoria.

Still basking in the achievement, Four Pillars co-founder Stuart Gregor says the IWSC is the world's largest and most prestigious international competition for spirits, with more than 3000 entries from across the globe.

"There's a million awards in the drinks industry and sometimes it gets difficult for people to understand what really matters and what's fair dinkum," he says.

"This matters. There is no question that gin is the most competitive category in spirits right now, and this is the greatest accolade in the world of gin."

There are only two previous winners of this award, Japan's The Kyoto Distillery (2018) and Sweden's Hernö Gin (2017).

Both are distilleries Four Pillars is intimately familiar with, having collaborated with them on special gins in the past.

"I would say we have a few things in common," says Gregor.

Advertisement

"None of us are from what you would call traditional gin producing countries, so we are not bound by convention.

"Each of us have got an interesting portfolio of gins that represents where we're from, and we share an absolutely uncompromising obsession with quality."

Gregor hopes the award will put Australian gin on the map, just as Sullivans Cove's accolades did for Australian whisky.

"If you look at the amount of media coverage we've generated over the last few days it's been pretty epic," he says.

"It's pretty great for all of us gin distillers, as many Australians probably don't realise we are producing gin of this calibre," he said.

"I know how much interest Sullivans Cove generated in Australian whisky. People said, 'well we can't get our hands on Sullivans Cove, so let's have a look at what the next one might be'."

Four Pillars was one of four distillers shortlisted as finalists for the award, alongside fellow Australians Kangaroo Island Spirits.

The IWSC award caps off a massive 2019 for Four Pillars, which recently became the first ever local distillery to be awarded Australia's Liquor Brand of the Year at the Australian Liquor Industry Awards.

And in April, the business founded in April by Mackenzie, Gregor and brand strategist Matt Jones took on Lion, the Australian subsidiary of Japanese brewer Kirin, as a 50 per cent shareholder.

Today, the company produces around 600,000 bottles of gin annually, and is distributed in more than 30 markets across the world.