Raise a glass to the best of NZ spirits

The best of the best in New Zealand’s spirits have been announced in the very first New Zealand Spirits Awards.

The inaugural Awards, hosted by industry bodies, Spirits New Zealand and Distilled Spirits Aotearoa, took place at Wellington’s Te Papa on 10 May, and received 254 entries from both local and international distilleries.

The Awards saw seven of 13 trophies won by New Zealand distilleries. 41% of overall Awards entries were from New Zealand producers. 221 bronze, silver, gold and double gold medals were won, and 90 of those were awarded to New Zealand distilleries.

Of special note were double trophy winners, Wellington gin distillers, Denzien Urban Distillery. Its Te Aro Dry took out Best New Zealand in Category for Gin and Trophy for Best Overall in Category for Gin, despite opening distillery doors less than six months ago.  

Other noteworthy trophy winners were Thomson Whisky from Riverhead for its Thomson Whisky Two Tone and The White Sheep Co. from Tauranga with its Sheep Milk Vodka.

Robert Brewer, Chief Executive of Spirits New Zealand, said the New Zealand Spirits Awards exceeded expectations in its first year.  

“We would have been very happy to get 100 entries into the Awards, but 254 entries is truly amazing in its inaugural year,” said Robert.  

Distilled Spirits Aotearoa Chair, Sue James, says the number of entries is a solid indication of the growing strength of the New Zealand spirits industry, since almost half of these entries were New Zealand distilleries and products.

“Less than 10 years ago, there would have been less than 20 distilleries in New Zealand. And now there would be close to 100,” said Sue.  

“This is a wonderful place for the NZ Spirits Awards to be in its first year, and we hope it just continues to grow alongside other new industry events, like Highball.”

NZ Spirits Awards Trophy Winners

Elemental Grapefruit & Hops Bitters

Trophy for Best New Zealand in Category - Botanical & Other Spirits

Dolin Vermouth Rogue

Trophy for Best Overall in Category - Botanical & Other Spirits

Remy Martin XO

Trophy for Best Overall in Category - Brandies

Denzien Te Aro Dry

Trophy for Best New Zealand in Category - Gin

Denzien Te Aro Dry

Trophy for Best Overall in Category - Gin

Lewis Road Creamery Chocolate Cream Liqueur

Trophy for Best New Zealand in Category - Liqueur

Lewis Road Creamery Chocolate Cream Liqueur

Trophy for Best Overall in Category - Liqueurs

Pusser's Rum

Trophy for Best Overall in Category - Rum

Sheep Milk Vodka

Trophy for Best New Zealand in Category - Vodka

Grey Goose

Trophy for Best Overall in Category - Vodka

Thomson Whisky Two Tone

Trophy for Best New Zealand in Category - Whiskey

Talisker 10 YO

Trophy for Best Overall in Category - Whiskey

TeKiwi 100% Blue Agave Spirit

New Zealand Innovation Award - Botanical & Other Spirits - Agave Based Spirits

New Zealand Innovation Award

Check out NZ medalists here, and grab your tickets to Highball !


Andrew Stantiall