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September 29, 2023

Enjoy a taste of SA spirit

Standing inside the bottle-o umming and ahhing about what to take home? Check out these award-winning local distillers.

  • Words: Helen Karakulak
  • Pictures: Supplied

Local distillers cleaned up in this year’s South Australian spirit awards, taking home nine of 11 major awards up for grabs.

The sixth annual spirit awards were held by Tasting Australia on Wednesday, and SA distillers dominated the major categories.


For the full list of winners, visit the Tasting Australia website.


86 distillers around Australia entered their products for award consideration, and the judging panel tasted more than 280 products to choose the winners – what a job to have.

South Australia’s Fleurieu Distillery took home The Best Distiller award for the second year for their Don Quixote and Tapestry whiskies. The Don Quixote also took home the award for best whisky and the Premier’s Spirit Award.

Founder of Adelaide cocktail institution Maybe Mae, Ollie Margan, was head judge of this year’s awards and says there were tough decisions to make.

“The spirits industry is one of the most diverse in the world and the entries we received in this year’s Spirit Awards certainly highlighted that,” Ollie says.

“It is not an easy feat to receive a medal in competitions like this one, so all the distilleries who placed should be very proud.”

Best Gin was awarded to Never Never Distilling Co. for their export strength triple juniper gin, with co-founder and 40 under 40 alumnus George Georgiadis making a bee-line to the CityMag 10th anniversary party to show off his trophy that night.

Never Never were gin it to win it

Newcomers Pluto Spirits are based in Seaford, a brand born out of three mates at a BBQ with a dream of distilling. They’ve collected two awards, best Vodka and Best New Distiller, for their Pluto Vodka and Oaked Cane Spirit.

Best Brandy went to St Agnes Distillery’s XO 15-year-old. This brandy has aromas of citrus and stone fruits. The golden amber coloured drink also has marmalade matched with integrated sweet oak. If Paddington bear was a drinker, this would be his nightcap of choice.

For bitters fans, Ragazzi e Succo Apertivio took home the prize in the Best Vermouth/Bitters category. This features classic Italian amaro botanicals and is designed to be enjoyed as a classic Aperitivo but with its versatile flavour, it’s also perfect for cocktails.

The innovation award category was swept up by Adelaide distiller Spirito Santo, with their unconventional, European inspired spirit, ‘Siropo’. This is an amaro with ingredients aged in old Port barrels to summon a digestif they describe as holy.

All up, 249 medals were given out to entrants – 43 gold, 98 silver and 108 bronze. This awards season confirms what CityMag already knew: South Aussies have got great spirit.

For the full list of winners, visit the Tasting Australia website.

Head to their Instagram for more information.

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