Lyre’s Italian Spritz named best non-alc in San Francisco spirits comp

May 6, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

It’s a great week at Lyre’s. Earlier this week the business being valued at $AUD 179 million, it has also taken out the Best Non-Alcoholic Spirit for its Italian Spritz at the esteemed San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Lyre’s Chief Marketing Officer, Paul Gloster said: “The whole team at Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Spirits is honoured to receive such a prestigious set of awards and we are even more pleased to see Lyre’s repeatedly winning awards at competitions like the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

“Alongside the recent news that Lyre’s as a business is valued at over $179 million (AUD) we couldn’t be more excited for what the coming year has to offer in the non/low-alc space globally. Lyre’s is at the forefront of consumers’ minds when choosing a no or low option and this is reflected in our double-digit monthly revenue growth with annualised sales on course to exceed $62 million by the fourth quarter of this year.”

Also in San Francisco, Diageo’s Talisker won Best Distillers’ Single Malt Scotch Aged 13-19 years and its Smirnoff Zero Sugar Black Cherry flavour took out the award for Best Hard Seltzer. While the flavour is not yet available in Australia, Smirnoff Selzter is the market leader here with a 30.6 per cent share of the market.

Pernod Ricard’s Absolut Vodka was named the world’s best and Australia’s Vittorio Spirits’ Ou7o won Best Ouzo.

There were double gold medals aplenty for Australian distillers who were competing in a pool of 3500 entries. Starward Whisky, Australian Distilling Co, Never Never Distilling Co, Beenleigh Curatif and Archie Rose were all awarded prestigious Double Gold medals. A full list of Double Gold Australian winners is available here.

Starward won for its Solera single malt Australian whisky, Never Never for is Triple Juniper Export Strength and Southern Strength Gins, Australian Distilling Co for its Gold Coast Gin, Beenleigh for its 15 year old rum, Archie Rose for its Distiller’s Strength Gin and Rye Malt Whiskey and new Australian startup Curatif for its Black Pearl Toreador.

Starward Founder, David Vitale, said Solera was the first whisky Starward produced where they borrowed from tradition and then threw the rule book out the window.  

“It’s humbling that Solera, the very first whisky that we released, has been recognised with Double Gold eight years on. This award is the ultimate encouragement to our team who by tasting, blending, and experimenting continue to produce a whisky which truly reflects our innovative spirit and unique approach to whisky crafting in Melbourne; wild weather and all,” said Vitale.

In addition to its Gold Coast Gin, Australian Distilling Co also won Gold medals for its Australian Distilling Co Gin, Australian Distilling Co Rhapsody Ruby and Darwin Craft Gin.

Australian Distilling Co founder, Michael Hickinbotham said, “The San Francisco World Spirits Competition suits our brand to a tee: our products stand out from the crowd and taste unique, and we’re proud to have entered our spirit brands in this year’s awards.”

Queensland Distillery Beenleigh took Double Gold for its 15 year old rum which will be released later this year. Head distiller Wayne Stewart said: “This showcases to the world that in Australia we can compete with the rest of the rum world, that we can produce rum as good or better as other distilleries around the world.”

It seems that Global Brand Ambassador for Black Tot Rum, Mitch Wilson, concurs: “Over the past few years, it’s been tremendous to see Beenleigh firmly establish itself as the international face of Australian Rum.”

Archie Rose Rye Malt Whisky and its Distiller’s Strength Gin both received the coveted double gold stamp and its Single Malt Whisky was awarded a shiny gold medal too.

Aussie start-up Curatif’s Double Gold medal for its Black Pearl Toreador comes hot on the heels of having received top awards in the Classic and Contemporary cocktail award categories from the World Premix Awards in London last week, winning the World’s Best Classic Cocktail for its Tequila Tromba Margarita and World’s Best Contemporary Cocktail for its Black Pearl Toreador.

“We were stoked with the news that came in from the World Premix Awards last week, and now to see recognition for our cocktails from the other side of the world at one of the longest-standing and most influential global spirits competitions, really is the cherry on the cake”, said Matt Sanger, Curatif Co-founder and Managing Director.  

Curatif was awarded a Double Gold medal for its Black Pearl Toreador, Gold medals for its Plantation Pineapple Daiquiri and soon-to-be-released Plantation Hurricane, Silver medals for its Archie Rose Espresso Martini, Never Never Distilling Negroni and Jacoby’s Trader Vic’s Mai Tai, and a bronze medal for its Tequila Tromba Margarita.  

The 2021 SFWSC saw a 20 per cent increase in entrants this year. Roughly 40 per cent of the entrants are from the US, with the balance of 60per cent international.

The San Francisco World Spirits Competition is judged over four days of highly controlled blind tastings, our experienced judging panels taste every product to decide if it is medal worthy. The San Francisco World Spirits Competition was founded in 2000, now in its 21st year, esteemed judges award medals to the highest calibre of quality.

OTHER AWARDS NEWS: LONDON

In London, way back in March, Mt Uncle Distillery’s Botanic Australis Navy Strength Gin was named Gin of the Year and Best in Show by Country for their Botanic Australis Navy Strength Gin as well as a gold medal awarded to its Botanic Australis Northern Gem Gin.

“We have built our unrivalled reputation on producing award-winning premium spirits and liqueurs, with a huge emphasis on using as many local and national Australian ingredients as possible. Nestled in the foothills of the mountain, our distillery transforms a variety of fresh tropical fruit and Australian native botanicals into unique liqueurs and spirits, while Queensland sugarcane and barley is used for rum and whisky production,” Mt Uncle, founder and head distiller, Mark Watkins (pictured below) said.  

Other Australian gold medal winners were:

  • Lord Byron Distillery’s Pure Single Rum
  • Headlands Distilling Company’s Seacliff Vodka
  • Four Pillars Spiced Negroni Gin and Olive Leaf Gin
  • Mt Uncle Distillery’s FNQ. Rum Co. Iridium Rum
  • Threefold Distilling Mediterranean Gin and Aromatic Gin
  • Kings Cross Distillery Navy Strength Gin

Kudos also to the newly opened Sydney distillery Seadrift with its two releases, Seadrift Classic and Seadrift Coast non- alcoholic spirits, both awarded silver medals.

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