Head Judge Sebastian Costello

Never Never Distilling Co named Champion at ADSA in most competitive field to date

November 13, 2020
By Ioni Doherty

Never Never Distilling Co. from McLaren Vale, South Australia has been named as the Champion Australian Distiller at the 2020 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards (ADSA), conducted by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV).

Held as a virtual presentation for the first time, the 2020 ADSA were broadcast online from Melbourne Showgrounds Encore Studio. There were 14 trophies awarded throughout the presentation with South Australia’s Never Never Distilling Co taking out the industry’s most prestigious award ahead of NSW based Archie Rose Distilling Company and Victorian Dandah Distilling Company.

RASV CEO, Brad Jenkins is delighted with the interest and growth of the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards with a record number of entries this year, reflecting the remarkable growth in the distilling industry.

“The growth in entries for the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards is extraordinary. The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria received 619 entries this year, an increase of 80% on 2019 and up from 115 when they were first held in 2015” said Mr Jenkins.

“The Australian Distilled Spirits Awards proudly recognise and celebrate the long tradition of distilling in Australia and the emergence of the new generation of spirits, liqueurs and bitters.”

In addition to taking out the major award, Never Never Distilling Co also claimed the Champion Alternative Spirit and Champion Gin trophies, whilst their fellow South Australian’s Hills Distillery took out Champion Aromatic with their Bitter Orange and Angove / St Agnes Distillery were awarded Champion Brandy for their St Agnes XO 15yo.

Never Never Distilling Co Gin

Victorian Distillers had the opportunity to vie for the brand-new trophies of Champion Victorian Gin, awarded to Ballarat’s based Kilderkin Distillery’s Larrikin Gin Buccaneer and the Champion Victorian Distiller was awarded to Yackandandah’s Dandah Distillery.

Other Victorian winners included Melbourne based Brogan’s Way Distillery who took out both the Champion Small Batch Spirit and Champion Vodka with their Batch Zero Vodka and Dandah Distillery were awarded Champion Micro Batch Spirit with their Yack Creek Distillery, Blackstrap Rum 002’

For the second year in a row the Raymond B ‘Spike’ Dessert III Trophy for Champion Rum, named in honour of the pioneering Australian distiller in 2019, went to Spikes own Hoochery Distillery in Western Australia for the Ord River Run Overproof.

In his first year as Head Judge, Sebastian (Seb) Costello led the largest judging team ever assembled for the Awards, with 41 industry experts assessing the 619 products. Seb was thrilled to lead such a diverse team of distillers, bar tenders and industry experts to assess and award Australia’s best spirits.

“This is my first year as Head Judge of the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards after spending three years as a panel chair and I couldn’t be prouder of the results.

“It is incredible to see the high-quality products that the judges awarded a record 51 gold, 204 silver and 204 bronze medals, in what was a terrific collection of Australian spirits, liqueurs and bitters,” he said.

With more Australian distilleries entering the production phase with their whisky’s, the whisky category experienced a 50% increase in entries with NSW Archie Rose Distilling Co awarded the trophy for their Rye Malt Whisky.

Due to the restrictions on movement and social gatherings, this year’s award presentation was conducted virtually, with the one-hour ceremony filmed at Melbourne Showgrounds Encore Studio and streamed to more than 500 guests throughout Australia.

The ADSA, conducted by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), is also responsible for the Australian International Beer Awards and Royal Melbourne Wine Awards and is the largest national spirits awards in the country, recognising and rewarding excellence in Australia’s burgeoning spirits and liqueurs industry. All results including medal winners are now available here.

Head Judge, Seb Costello from 2019 by Craig Moodie Photography

Never Never Distilling Co Photography by Meaghan Coles

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