Global medals for Northern Irish whiskey and gin
Northern Ireland’s Old Bushmills, the world’s oldest licensed distillery, and Shortcross Gin, the region’s most recent producer, have both won medals in the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Old Bushmills gained a series of gold medals for its Irish whiskey products. Based at Bushmills in county Antrim, the company, now owned by Mexico’s Casa Cuervo, the world market leader in tequila, gained double golds for its single malt Irish whiskey and blended Irish whiskey. In addition, the distillery was awarded single gold medals for its malt, blended and flavoured products.
Shortcross Gin, based at Crossgar in county Down, gained a gold medal for its craft gin launched in 2014. The highly aromatic gin is handcrafted on a family Rademon Estate by husband and wife team David and Fiona Boyd-Armstrong. Rademon Craft Distillery is Northern Ireland’s first gin producer in over a century.
David Boyd-Armstrong, commenting on the award, says: “We are delighted to have won this important award so soon after the launch of the gin. We hope that it will help as we seek to expand exports particularly to the US.
“We developed Shortcross as a classical gin with a unique twist; best described as floral meadows, wild berries and grassy notes. It is highly aromatic with an exceptionally long and smooth finish.”
Now in its 15th year, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition set a new record for entries from distilleries across the world. Entries totaled 1,580 (up 7% from the year before) from 41 states, 66 countries covering 90 classifications.
Many categories of spirits experienced a marked increase, most notably gin (nearly triple the entries in three years).
Always a harbinger of trends in the marketplace, the competition is considered to be the rite of passage for top quality spirits as it has 41 of the world’s top professional palates serving as judges.
The competition has mirrored, and spurred, the spirits industry’s rapid growth over the last 15 years.