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Australian Icons Of Whisky 2020 Awards Announced

Sullivans Cove's Heather Tillott and Tin Shed's Ian Schmidt. Pic by Darn Small

The winners of the 2020 Australian Icons Of Whisky Awards have been announced in Sydney overnight, with a range of distillers, ambassadors, retailers, venue and media outlets recognised for their work in the industry in the past 12 months.

The industry-voted awards are part of the global Icons Of Whisky awards, with the winners now invited to attend the global Icons Of Whisky awards to be held in London March 2020.

 Sullivans Cove was a big winner on the night, held in Sydney’s Rydges World Square, taking home Distiller Of The Year with Head Distiller Heather Tillott taking home Distillery Manager Of The Year. Master Distiller Of The Year went to Jimmy McKeown of Perth’s Whipper Snapper distillery, home to Upshot whisky.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society‘s Matt Bailey (who is also a contributor to Whisky Ardent) took home Scotch Whisky Ambassador Of The Year, with Brown-Forman’s Thalita Alves named American Ambassador, Beam Suntory’s Dan Woolley Irish Ambassador and Spirits Platform’s Mark Hickey World Ambassador respectively.

Single Outlet Retailer went to Melbourne’s Casa De Vinos while Bar Of The Year went to Melbourne’s Whisky & Alement and Alex Dahlenburg of Speakeasy’ Mjølner named Bartender Of The Year.

Spirits Platform, the distributors of Macallan, Bruichladdich and Nant amongst other, CEO Ian Atherton was inducted into the Icons Of Whisky Global Hall Of Fame. The former Managing Director of Suntory Australia joined Spirits Platform in 2016 after the acquisition and merger of Beam by Suntory. A number of brands controlled by Beam Suntory were divested around the world as a result of anti-trust regulations following the acquisition.

Atherton joins other Australian Hall Of Fame inductees including Bill Lark and Patrick Sullivan.

The Awards were introduced in 2007 and are an initiative of Whisky Magazine.

Distillery Awards

Distiller Of The Year 
Winner: Sullivans Cove
Highly Commended: New World Distillery (Starward)

Master Distiller Of The Year
Winner: Jimmy McKeown (Whipper Snapper Distillery)
Highly Commended: Mark Littler (Hellyer’s Road Distillery)

Craft Producer Of The Year 
Winner: Belgrove Distillery
Highly Commended: Tin Shed Distillery (Iniquity)

Distillery Manager Of The Year
Winner: Ian Schmidt (Tin Shed Distillery)
Highly Commended: Heather Tillott (Sullivans Cove)

Visitor Attraction Of The Year
Winner: New World Distillery (Starward)
Highly Commended: Archie Rose

Visitor Attraction Manager Of The Year
Winner: Harriet Leigh (Archie Rose)
Highly Commended: Peter Bignell (Belgrove Distillery)

Brand Innovator Of The Year 
Winner: Rochford Distillery
Highly Commended: New World Distillery (Starward)

Ambassador Awards

Scotch Whisky Brand Ambassador Of The Year 
Winner: Matt Bailey, Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Highly Commended: James Macrae, Ailsa Bay

Irish Whiskey Brand Ambassador Of The Year
Winner: Dan Woolley, Connnemara
Highly Commended: Josh O’Brien, Writers Tears

American Whiskey Brand Ambassador Of The Year
Winner: Thalita Alves, Woodford Reserve & Jack Daniels
Highly Commended: Michael Thomas, Jim Beam & Makers Mark

World Whisky Brand Ambassador Of The Year
Winner: Mark Hickey, Nant
Highly Commended: Kevin Griffin, Nikka

Venue Awards

Bar Of The Year
Winner: Whisky & Alement, Melbourne
Highly Commended: Nola Smoke House and Bar, Sydney

Bartender Of The Year
Winner: Alex Dahlenburg (Mjølner)
Highly Commended: Simon Hopkins (NOLA)

Hotel Bar Of The Year
Winner: Evolve Spirits Bar, Hobart
Highly Commended: Eau De Vie, Sydney

Bar Group Of The Year
Winner: Speakeasy Group
Highly Commended: Swillhouse Group

Retailer Awards

Single Outlet Retailer Of The Year
Winner: Casa de Vinos, Melbourne
Highly Commended: The Oak Barrel, Sydney

Multiple Outlets Retailer Of The Year
Winner: Camperdown Cellars, New South Wales
Highly Commended: Malt Traders, Queensland

Online Retailer Of The Year
Winner: Dan Murphy’s Online
Highly Commended: The Old Barrel House

Supermarket Retailer Of The Year
Winner: Dan Murphy’s
Highly Commended: Vintage Cellars

Travel Retailer Of The Year
Winner: Lagardère
Highly Commended: Heinemann Australia

Media Award

Whisky Communicator Of The Year
Winner: Whisky & Wisdom
Highly Commended: Whisky Waffle

Spirits Platform’s Ian Atherton. Pic by Darn Small

Hall Of Fame Inductee

Ian Atherton, Spirits Platform


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