The results are in: Local and international awards for SA Spirits

The results are in: Local and international awards for SA Spirits

2021 has been a big year for South African spirits. From taking home the top-scoring Brandy Trophy to winning Woman Distiller of the year. Let’s take a look at a few of the top competitions held this year and the local spirits that impressed the judges. 

Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards 2021

This year, a total of 1890 wines and spirits were entered into the competition. The judges awarded a total of 828 awards. 

Oude Molen’s XO Cape Brandy wowed the judges enough to secure both the Mantis Brandy Trophy for the top-scoring brandy and the Multi-Color Corporation Spirits Grand Prix Trophy for the highest scoring entry. 

Other spirits that stood out include Musgrave Crafted Spirits with their Copper Black Honey Brandy, winning this year’s Trophy for the Most Innovative Product, and Benedict’s Blueberry and Elderflower Handcrafted Premium Gin, winning the Airlink Gin Trophy. 

The Veritas’ Brandy Awards 2021

The 2021 Veritas Awards attracted almost 1300 entries, assessed by 64 local specialists. KWV scored top honours in the brandy category with their KWV 15 Year Alambic Blend Potstill Brandy. This is the first 100-point score brandy ever entered into the competition. 

KWV was awarded four Double Gold and one Gold. Distell came in at close second with three Double Gold and one Gold medal.

Old Mutual Spirits Competition 2021

This year’s awards were headed by chairman Michael Fridjhon and judged by leading industry experts, international spirits judges, award-winning brandy masters, and a group of mixology mavens. There were 673 entries with at least fifty different brandies, liqueurs, whiskies and gins from the Cape, Gauteng, and Mpumalanga.

The awards reflected the international nature of the competition. The awards for the best vodkas, gins, rums, pot-still brandies, grain whiskies and liqueurs were awarded to South African producers, while those for the best blended whiskies, pot-still whiskeys, Cognacs, and single malts went to internationals. 

This year, KWV stole the show with a total of five medals and three trophies. Again, KWV Brandy was awarded the trophy for best pot-distilled Brandy for its Alambic Blend Potstill Brandy. 

SA Women’s Wine & Spirit Awards 2021

This year, the SA Women’s Wine & Spirit Awards saw immense growth in the number of spirits entered, with the entries in the gin category dominating. 

Overall, there was diversity in style. There was also a particular emphasis in several entries towards herbal and botanical driven styles. Lizl Giacomozzi from Comozzi Gin was awarded Woman Distiller of the year.

International IWSC

The International Wine and Spirit Competition is an annual competition in the category of wines and spirits. It is currently the largest alcohol competition in the world. Over 250 judges take part in the competition, assessing thousands of wines and spirits in 1,500 different categories.

In this year’s edition of the IWSC, over 37 winners of the main prize and over 140 winners in the Scottish Whisky category were selected. The organizers receive samples for evaluation from over 86 countries around the world.

In the Spirits category, Distell International Bain`s Cape Mountain Whiskey managed to impress the judges enough to win Gold.

South African Spirits producers that won Silver include Deep South Distillery’s Cape Of Storms Vodka, Hope on Hopkins’ Clemengold Gin, Distell International’s Count Pushkin Vodka Premium Imperial, Knysna Distillery’s Cure Gin and Knysna Gin, KWV’s Potstill Brandy, Pabst & Richarz Vertriebs’ Mindin Premium Rum, Distell International’s Olof Bergh, Richelieu 10 YO and Three Ships Whisky Single Malt, and Nature’s Own Beverages’ The Royal Rhino Liqueur.

Concours Mondial de Bruxelles

Concours Mondial took place over nine days where more than 300 international judges took turns to taste the wines. This year’s competition took place in Luxembourg from June 17 to 27. A total 10,000 wines were entered by 46 producer countries.

Entries from South Africa that stood out include KWV’s The Mentor’s Perold, The Mentors Canvas, The Mentor’s Petit Verdot, Koelenhof Winery’s Stellenbosch 1679 Pinotage, Saronberg Cellar’s Saronsberg Seismic, Rouseu Wijnen & Likeuren’s Neethlingshof Owl Post Pinotage and Spier Wines’ Gables 21 Pinotage. These wines all received a Grand Gold Medal.  

International Spirits Challenge

Now in its 27th year, the International Spirits Challenge is the premier event in promoting outstanding quality spirits from across the world. This year, the competition received thousands of entries from nearly 70 countries worldwide.

The highlight entry from South Africa was gin brand Flowstone that walked away with three awards in the gin categories. The brand has earned two silver awards and a bronze for its Bushwillow, Snuffbox and Wild Cucumber Gin.

The Merit Wine and Spirit Challenge 2021

The third Merit Wine and Spirit Challenge took place at the end of September. The judges sat down at Klein Joostenberg, Stellenbosch, to judge the entries. The focus of the event was to give the younger generation of wine and spirit consumers a voice. 

This year, the trophy for the best overall gin went to Time Anchor Distillery for their Mirari Celebration gin.

SA Craft Gin 2021 

Now in its third year, the SA Craft Gin Awards represent the first dedicated competition focused specifically on South African craft gins. It was founded to celebrate and promote the best craft gins made in South Africa. 

This year, around 60 craft gins were entered into the competition. The winners included Ginologist Orient (London / African Dry), Bossieveld Mystique (Botanical / Fynbos), Die Mas Kalahari Naartjie (Fruit / Citrus), Roxi’s Spice (Spice),  Poetic Licence Old Tom (Aged) and Autograph Signet (Contemporary). 

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