Flying Kiwi: Scapegrace Gold from New Zealand named world’s best gin

New Zealand gin Scapegrace Gold has been named best London dry gin in the world at the prestigious International Wine and Spirits Competition.

Scapegrace Gold (originally known as Rogue Society Gin) took out the London Dry Gin Trophy 2018 in London — the first time in the influential competition’s 49-year history that a New Zealand brand has won the accolade.

On top of the world: Scapegrace Gold beat over 600 rivals to the supreme accolade.

The Kiwi gin was described by judges as “staggeringly good” and beat over 600 gins from almost 90 countries to take out the supreme award.

Judge Steve Beal said: “Making gin this good is not easy or accidental, we salute the blender… a magnificent gin. [Scapegrace Gold] has the classic juniper burr running through it, joined by powerful but balanced spice and root flavours combining to make a complex, teasing expression demanding of attention on the palate.”

Flying Kiwis: Scapegrace Gold set against a backdrop of New Zealand triumphs.

Scapegrace was founded four years ago by Auckland-based friends Mark Neal, Daniel McLaughlan and Richard Bourke. It is now sold in 35 countries, including leading cocktail bars and a growing number of duty free stores (including ARI’s just-opened new-look Terminal 2 liquor store at Dublin Airport).

“The irony isn’t lost on us that our gin is the best London dry gin in the world even though we’re based on the exact opposite side of the world to London,” said Neal.

“We spent years researching and developing our recipe. From day dot we were committed to creating a gin for New Zealanders which we could take to the world.”

Showing true Kiwi spirit: Scapegrace Co-founders Richard Bourke, Daniel Mclaughlin, and Mark Neal.

Scapegrace Gold is distilled in small batches with 13 botanicals; lemon, orange, coriander, cardamom, cloves, juniper berries, nutmeg, angelica root, liquorice root, orris, cinnamon, cassia bark, and tangerine.

Tangerine is the “lucky 13th botanical” which differentiates Scapegrace Gold from Scapegrace Classic, the other Scapegrace gin, Neal said.

“It might seem surprising to see a New Zealand gin win this award when you think of the history and tradition behind the artisan liquor in the UK and Europe, but the reason our gin tastes so clean is because of our water which we source from a natural aquifer just north of Christchurch.”

World beater: Scapegrace is described as a brand for the new generation of gin drinkers.

McLaughlan says Scapegrace was designed to shake up the liquor industry by creating something for the new generation of gin drinkers.

“We wanted to shift away from the old classics, the stuff you’ll find in your parents’ liquor cabinet, by introducing a modern and progressive way of doing gin.

“Everything from our ingredients, to the processes used, and even the bottles they come in pays tribute to the craft of gin making, but also to being a bit rebellious from those traditions and paving a new way for the craft. Thus our name, Scapegrace.”

The popularity of gin continues to soar around the world, with over 50 million cases now sold every year, and sales of gin tripling in the UK alone since 2009. That burgeoning popularity is being reflected in travel retail with retailers such as ARI in Ireland, Dubai Duty Free in the UAE and World Duty Free in the UK now stocking dozens of mainstream, boutique, and coloured craft gins.

Note: Look out for a special report on craft spirits in travel retail, coming soon in The Moodie Davitt e-Zine.

Martin Moodie (left) chats with Scapegrace Gin Co-founder Daniel McLaughlan (centre) and Global Sales Director James Cowan at the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes last year.
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