Latest news2019-04-25T10:47:42+10:00

An Apology

During the 2018/19 Australian Gin Awards the nine judges looked at, tasted and judged 173 Australian craft gins. We awarded 5 trophies from the six categories and an error was made in the Old Tom Category. There were only two entries and they were not judged due to a misunderstanding.  The gins were Karu Infinity and Kangaroo Island Spirits. It must be noted that the KI Old Tom has won 14 medals in a variety of shows including a Double Gold at the 2019 SIP Awards International Spirits Competition & Consumer Choice class.

Both gins were entered into the correct class however we apologise for them not being judged.

36 Craft Distillers and 200 Gins.

All of the stands at the Sydney Gin Palooza are now accounted for. We are pleased to welcome three New Zealand Distillers into the group adding a little bit of difference with their Kiwi botanicals. The Distillers’ full list is on the Australian Gin Awards web site and the master classes, VIP Packages and general event tickets are now for sale.

Another Palooza Member

The National Distillery Company is a craft distillery which is located in one of New Zealand’s most iconic heritage buildings, based in the beautiful port of Ahuriri in Napier. Formerly New Zealand’s National tobacco company, the building was built with opulence and indulgence in mind and no cost was spared, and that’s the approach we take with our spirits. YES YES we will be at the Sydney Gin Palooza in November. We can’t wait to pour you a G&T or even better one of our banging cocktails. See you very soon Australia, we love you.

Application Forms in July

Mel and Nick from Imbue Distillery entered their gin into the February Australian GIN Awards, they came to the Presentation Dinner and discovered that they had won a silver medal. No surprise as their gin is worthy! No sadly they are not coming to the Sydney Gin Palooza however they are waiting for the application forms for the next Awards which will be published in July.

Giniversity at the Palooza

We thought you would be interested in the Giniversity master class at the November Sydney Gin Palooza. The class includes your entry into the Palooza following the class. The same class is repeated twice – 23 and 24 November.  The class size is 24 and the new venue is the Paddington Town Hall.


Broken Heart Spirits

The story of Broken Heart Gin begins with two Germans living in New Zealand’s Southern Alps, Joerg was a pilot and Bernd an engineer. Both philosophers and committed Master Distillers, they formed their friendship around a still and a passion for perfecting spirits of rare complexity and fine flavours.

Read more.

New Zealand’s Broken Heart Spirits will be featuring at the Sydney Gin Palooza with their craft gins.


The Diversity of Giniversity

When Cameron Syme set up Great Southern Distilling Company in 2004, he had one goal – to make the best spirits in the world.

Today, Cameron has established and owns 3 distilleries, two under the Great Southern Distilling Co, banner and one distillery operates under Margaret River Distilling Co. In these distilleries Cameron has been producing award-winning Australian Whisky and Gin for over 15 years.

His leading Australian gin brand of ‘Giniversity’ is made at the Margaret River Distilling Company, which Cameron opened in 2015.

Almost two decades on from the day Cameron distilled his first Gin and Limeburners Single Malt, each of these three distillery sites are their own “centre of excellence”, specialising in specific spirits.

World leading whisky critic Jim Murray has recognised us as one of the World’s great distilleries, and a number of international Trophies also acknowledge that we have achieved Cameron’s goal of producing some of the World’s best whisky and spirits.

Cameron has proven he has one of the World’s most discerning palates, and has developed an enviable record as one of the World’s leading Craft Distillers.

KIWIs Join the Palooza

Lighthouse Gin owned by Foley Wines is based in Martinborough on the north island of New Zealand. Today, under the direction of Rachel Hall, Lighthouse Gin continues to produce small batch gin with its unique blend of nine botanicals. The unique blend continues to impress connoisseurs and experts around the globe with high scores and exceptional reviews. You can meet them at the Sydney Gin Palooza in November.

NZ Distillers enter Australian Gin Awards

Chairman Bill Lark and CEO Judith Kennedy have announced that the New Zealand craft Distillers have been invited to take stands at the Sydney Gin Palooza and will be eligible to enter the Australian Gin Awards being judged this October.

The Palooza Gang

Mother and daughters Kate, Cassie and Lexe Meyer teamed together to Manage the Palooza at Manjit’s and will be front and center at the Paddington Town Hall in November.

Nero G + T

Nero Nitro is the newest concept by Schibello Coffee Roasters. Made with cold brewed Ethiopian single Origin Coffee and infused with Nitro and bursting with natural flavours of melon and butterscotch.  A Gin Palooza favourite.

A Magic Combination

Hemp Gin is a small batch ‘Australian Dry Gin’. Infused with Hemp seeds, it is the first to market. The magic combination of hemp takes gin to the next level.
What began as a university assignment, a passion for high quality gin and one man’s passion to push the boundaries, soon became an obsession to develop a truly unique and premium gin that would satisfy the needs of an ever growing “Gin Savvy” Australia.

Post Palooza Season One

Sydney Gin Palooza Season Two is now being planned to be held in the Paddington Town Hall in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs. More than a dozen distilleries plus several food stands and Schibello Coffee have requested stands . The Palooza dates are 22, 23, 24 and 25 November with the 25th being dedicated to trade only. Stand applications will open in April.

Cocktail Cup Winner

Giacomo Franceschi of Merivale Charlie Parker’s won the Cocktail Cup with his outstanding recipe named Deep Sea.

60mL Manly Spirit Gin. 20mL single Vineyard Thomas Hunter Valley Semillon infused with
sea asparagus; 6 dashes of homemade lemon tincture; 3 dashes homemade sea celery cordial;
Moss infused with vodka then distilled and sprayed around the cocktail glass. Garnished with
one almond dropped into the cocktail.

The judges handpicked by Chairman Mikey Enright were Jason Crawley, Andy Penny and
Harriet Leigh. Enright commented: “What a great line up of judges, many
years of experience and it was a really tough call for them. The cocktails have
been next level. Congratulations to all involved”.

The Cocktail Cup Finalists Are:

Simon Laturiuw Low & Loftys using Brookies Dry gin and Brookies Slow. Matty Opai Icebergs Dining Room & Bar using Four Pillars – Maker Session Gin. Jake Soledad Icebergs Dining Room & Bar using Four Pillars X Herno. Christian Comparone The Smoking Panda using 5Nines Distilling Wild Citrus Gin.. Giacomo Franceschi Merivale Charlie Parker’s using Manly Spirit Gin. Manly Spirit. Christopher Thomas – Trolley’d – using Hemp Gin.

Masterclass Time

Archie Rose Distillery Co and Giniversity owned by the Margaret River Distilling Co are both presenting cocktail blending classes at the Sydney Gin Palooza. Wonderful concepts for novices or gin tragics alike.  SOLD OUT


Australian Gin Cocktail Cup

the Australian Gin Awards is growing not just in numbers of entries but in associated events.  Mikey Enright will Chair the exciting Cocktail Cup entries open 8 October and close 5 November. Facebook will give all the details.

It’s Cocktail Time!

The Association has now developed an exciting adjunct to the Australian Gin Awards. Mikey Enright owner of the Barbershop (Sydney’s premier gin bar) will Chair the AUSTRALIAN GIN COCKTAIL CUP. Bartenders will enter by invitation and the grand prize is being sponsored by FEVER TREE. More on this later.

GIN Awards Update

All 36 stands for the Sydney Gin Palooza have been taken up. Distillers from all states and the ACT are participating with Victoria the strongest group. Entries are still open. So enter your gin and the Design Awards up until the end of October. Trophies and certificates will be awarded by Bill Lark and his team of nine judges. Dinner tickets also still available.

SAVERGLASS adds to the Sponsorship Bounty

A $5000 SAVERGLASS surprise gift will be presented to a lucky winner at the Awards Presentation Dinner being held on Thursday 7 March 2019. If you are a Distiller present at the dinner your name can be drawn out of a hat for this amazing luxury, high-end glass prize.

FREE Transport setting a Precedent

The inaugural Gin Awards is bringing in some exciting changes to the distillers awards scene. Mainfreight has set up drop-off depots in Hobart; Adelaide; Melbourne; Margaret River and Perth for the entries in those areas. At no cost to the distillers, their entries will arrive into Sydney safely and in time for the judging. Thanks Mainfreight nice one!

Welcome to our New Sponsor

CCL is Australia’s best known wine label producer with manufacturing in Sydney and Adelaide. They have given the awards a $5000 production prize for the winner of Australia’s Best Gin Bottle. The judging team is elly Baxter (Chair);Marty Widholm Lead Designer;  Penny Sippe Bacardi PR Manager; Sarah Norris Editor Broadsheet Sydney; Rachael Lonergan Brand & Advertising Strategist; Steve Morris; CCL General Manager Wine & Spirits NSW. James Kelly CAPI Sales Manager NSW; Kate Meyer dedicated gin lover;Thank you CCL.

A Delicious Sponsor

These yummy vegan Treat Dreams chocolates will be available in the pop-up shop at the Sydney Gin Palooza on 8 & 9 March at Manjit’s. They will also be served for guests at the Trophy Dinner – we are told that they will be filled with gin based cream. Thank you TD.

Using decadent, organic and fair trade 70% European chocolate, we handcraft gooey filled creations in Sydney.
These full flavour treats also happen to be dairy free, egg free and vegan friendly.

Awards Entry Form

Many people are asking for the form to enter their gin and book a stand at the Sydney Gin Palooza.  The form will be emailed to all companies and will also be on this web site on Wednesday 1st August. It’s a new show and the form is complex giving you the ability to enter your gin; the Bottle Design Awards; purchase tickets for the trophy dinner and book a stand. It’s being tested now and is on the way!

New Craft Gin Launches on the Great Ocean Road

A new local craft gin, Great Ocean Road Gin is set to launch after nearly 12 months in development. Owner Ann Houlihan is excited to announce the release of her premium craft gin, inspired by the Great Ocean Road.   The first gin in the series is called ‘Guvvos’ and you can pre-order and support this project at

Purely Organic

Australia’s first certified organic and carbon neutral spirits company.

Refined with pure Australian rainwater. Neat, sophisticated, happy to mix. Made responsibly in Australia.

Antipodes Gin Co decided to create a gin unlike any other, Australia’s first certified organic and carbon neutral gin.

Welcome to the Mixer Sponsor.

CAPI’s mixers and sparkling water will feature at all events for the awards.

The CAPI brand was born from a simple idea to produce clean, natural, carbonated refreshments. In a worldfull of mass-production,CAPI wanted to defy the norm through its craftsmanship, quality ingredients and outstanding drinks.

CAPI is proudly Australian made with all products produced in Kyneton, Victoria. Everything in the range is free of all artificial colours, flavours and preservatives, using only the best natural ingredients.  See their full range.


How Sexy is Your Bottle?

In addition to the trophies and certificates awarded to the contents of the bottle, the bottles themselves will be judged. The top design trophy will be awarded for the Best Gin Bottle. The Chair for this section of the awards is Elly Baxter from The Ginstress. Elly will select her team of judges which will be made up of professional designers and industry figures.

The Awards Team

The Australian Gin Awards is in capable hands. The CEO Judith Kennedy AM has successfully managed Australian and international wine awards for more than 20 years. As a business woman she is keenly aware of quality control and delivering on a  promise to the entrants.   The Chairman is Bill Lark – he is simply a luminary distiller; an international whisky icon; an Aussie champion and an all-round nice bloke.

Together they are offering the gin industry a solid and mindful approach to an awards opportunity in order that distillers and independent bottlers alike may see how they stack up against their peers and benefit from the exposure these awards offer.

Awards Trophy Winners Lunch Series

The Australian Gin Awards trophy winners will feature in a series of lunches following the Presentation Dinner in March next year. One of the benefits of winning a trophy will be to have the opportunity to have your gin featured along with all trophy gins at a series of lunch banquets. The events will be held in regional and city restaurants across the country. Trophy-winning distillers will be invited to be the guest speakers. More on this later.

Bill Lark to Chair New Gin Awards

The champion Tasmanian distiller  Bill Lark and a wine industry leader  Judith Kennedy AM, are joining forces to manage the inaugural Australian Gin Awards and  the associated ”Meet the Makers” events at the Sydney Gin Palooza.

The aim is to shine a light on the excellence of gin production and for the judges to concentrate on one spirit – Australian gin.


The All Important Brand Design.

In recognition of the exciting range of designs and outstanding bottles and labels created by the gin industry, an adjunct to the awards will be the Best Gin Bottle Trophy judged by an expert team of designers and retailers, with an opportunity for members of the public to cast their vote.

And the Winner is….

In February the judges will be deciding on seven class trophies plus a range of gold, silver and bronze medals. The judges are yet to be announced. There will also be a Gin of Show silver perpetual trophy.


Gin and Shiraz combo

News from Four Pillars: “Bloody Shiraz Gin 2018, release and nation-wide tastings Friday June 1.

Rare dry gin and Yarra Valley fruit. The most remarkable feature of the 2018 gin is its truly incredible colour. It’s considerably brighter than last year, a glowing deep cerise with the most gorgeous vibrant pink hue”.

About Us

Our reputation lies in 20 years of wine show and event management. We founded and managed the Australian and New Zealand Boutique Wine Show, the Boutique Wine Label Design Awards and the Six Nations Wine Challenge. These successful shows have recently been passed on to new management which leaves us time and valuable experience on offer to Australia’s gin distillers.

August 2018

Application Forms will be distributed to Distillers for Australia’s only national GIN competition.

Events tickets will become available for members of the public – watch facebook and instagram for early bird offers in June.

February 2019

Judging will be held in Sydney. The Chairman and judging teams will be announced soon.

Australian Made

We have recognised a small tsunami of gin production, evident throughout Australia, in many cases evolving from winery cellar doors. The stand- alone distillers and the small batch winemakers alike are responding to a demand in the community for Australian made gin with our national botanicals offering exciting opportunities for creative blends. We are proud to be introducing the Australian Gin Awards and the Sydney Gin Palooza in 2019.

Judith Kennedy AM

The stand- alone distillers and the small batch winemakers alike are responding to a demand in the community for Australian made gin with our national botanicals offering exciting opportunities for creative blends.

March 2019

SYDNEY GIN PALOOZA will be held on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 March at Manjit’s at a ‘meet your maker’ gin and food event. Master classes will also feature. Watch Facebook and Instagram for early bird tickets.

March 2019

The Trophy Dinner will be held in Sydney on Thur 7 March, at Manjit’s on King’s Street Wharf. All trophy winning gins will be served at the dinner. Chairman Bill Lark will make the announcements and present the trophies.

Register Your Interest

Distillers and gin lovers please register your interest here or contact Judith Kennedy on 0417 048 755 if you have any questions about any of the events.

World’s Most Popular Gin

London Dry Gin is the world’s most popular Gin style. Despite its name, it’s not always from London and can be made anywhere, so long as it contains only natural ingredients.

So what makes it “London”? It must be made from pure grain spirit, with flavour introduced from natural botanicals through re-distillation. London Gin also mustn’t contain colouring or any added ingredients other than water.