Distell has taken three major titles including Distillery of the Year at the 2012 New York International Spirits Competition. The annual US event that claims to be the only contest of its kind judged exclusively by members of the trade, also awarded Amarula the title of Liqueur of the Year and Oude Meester 12 Year Old Reserve, the title of Brandy Brand of the Year.
Amarula was one of just three double medallists across the entire show, while the Oude Meester luxury potstill won one of just nine golds. Its three-year-old sibling potstill, Demant, came home with silver.
Commenting on the results, Johan Venter, Distell's primary production director and also an internationally renowned brandymaker, said the competition served as a signal of South African excellence to the American public. "The trade acts as a critical gateway to the consumers, which is why their endorsement is so important."
He said that earning the Distillery of the Year title was not the first time Distell had been internationally honoured in this way. In 2007 the company was judged the International Wine & Spirit Competition's Distillery of the Year. Many of its spirits and wines are regular recipients of trophies and medals on the London-based IWSC. Earlier this year, for example, a Nederburg wine took the trophy for top Sauvignon blanc.
The New York judges, Venter said, were buyers from the top retail stores, restaurant and bar owners, distributors and importers with the purchasing power and the ability to make a direct impact on brand sales.