A Pillar of the drinks industry

The Four Pillars Gin team celebrating their achievement.

By Jed Lanyon

Healesville’s own Four Pillars Gin is celebrating being awarded the 2019 International Gin Producer of the Year at the 50th Annual International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) in London.

Four Pillars is the first Australian distillery to earn the accolade that is considered by some as the Oscars of the international drinks industry.

Co-founder and Distiller Cameron Mackenzie accepted the award at The Guildhall and said, “To win this award, on the eve of our sixth birthday is really, truly, bloody incredible,” Mackenzie said.

“When we started making test batches of gin back in 2012 we never in our maddest, wildest dreams thought this could happen so quickly. To say that I am in a state of disbelief would be vastly understating the true state of my disbelief.

“This award is a tribute to every single person who has helped us make, sell, create, drink or buy one of our gins. This is reward for all of them. This award is not for a single one of our gins but for the whole of our gin business and that’s what makes it so incredibly special.

“The previous two winners of this award are Hernö from Sweden in 2017 and Kyoto Distillery in Japan last year so we couldn’t be in better company. They are two of the greatest distilleries and two of our best mates in the world of gin.”

Back home, the Four Pillars team received the news on the morning of Friday 29 November and celebrated in true fashion by popping the champagne while blaring Queen’s We Are The Champions every hour on the hour.

The IWSC Award for International Gin Producer of the Year recognises Four Pillars Gin’s leading role in the world of gin up to and including 2019, creating some of the most awarded gins in the world and leading the way for craft spirits producers, all anchored by its home in Healesville.

Four Pillars Gin was established in 2013 in the Yarra Valley on the outskirts of Melbourne and has become one of the world’s benchmark distilleries, Australia’s No.1 craft spirit and a leading light in the Australian gin revolution.

Four Pillars was founded by Mr Mackenzie alongside drinks industry veteran Stuart Gregor and creative brand strategist Matt Jones in 2013 and the business took on Lion (a subsidiary of Kirin) as a 50 per cent shareholder in April 2019.

The three founders remain at the helm of the business and Four Pillars is today distributed in more than 30 markets across the world, producing around 600,000 bottles annually.

Australia is in the middle of a gin boom which has seen consumption of locally-produced gin grow by 33 per cent in 2018 and likely a similar number in 2019. There is estimated to be around 180 distilleries in Australia producing gin today, in 2013 there were fewer than 15.

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