posted on July 8th, 2021

Hinch Distillery wins gold at International Wine and Spirit Competition 2021


Northern Ireland’s newest distillery, Hinch, has beckoned a prestigious Gold Medal awarded for its Imperial Stout Finish Irish Whiskey, one of three whiskeys in their Craft & Casks range.

The accolade, awarded by the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC), London, saw the Whiskey receive 95 points from a potential 100, one of the highest scores ever given to an Irish whiskey finished in ex craft beer casks.

IWSC 2021 was the competition’s largest ever event and saw 80 experts judge over 4,000 spirits.

In total, spirits from 86 countries were tasted and assessed, including whisky from Israel, Shochu from England, gin from Brazil and vodka from Kyrgyzstan.

Hinch Distillery’s Craft & Casks range is a trio of fine Irish whiskeys that up the flavour game in the segment having been finished using craft beer casks from Whitewater Brewing in Northern Ireland and Kinnegar Brewery in Co Donegal.

The range consists of three whiskeys; the Imperial Stout Finish, Irish Red Rye Finish and Rye Export Stout Finish, which have been disrupting the taste profile of the whiskey scene since they launched earlier this year.

The Craft & Casks range offers a distinctly flavoured beer barrel aged whiskey, which is an emerging trend in the industry and while Hinch is a relatively new name to the drinks’ fraternity, it has quickly risen to a par with the best around, beckoning prestigious awards in its two years of operation.

The IWSC Award is testament to its stature and is awarded on the back of large distribution deals the business has secured with firms in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, the US, France, Germany, Poland and Russia.

Judges said: “Hops, buttered teacake and floral freshness make a great start to this rich and indulgent journey through creamy butterscotch, candied orange, juicy sultanas, cinnamon and gingerbread. The alcohol is so well-integrated as to be barely perceptible.”

Speaking about the win, Hinch Chairman Dr Terry Cross OBE, who recently opened his distillery and restaurant to the public at the end of May said: “Despite not being able to open our public offering fully at the distillery for over a year, we have continued to develop our offering, expand our portfolio and win major deals in the shadows of what has been a very challenging economic climate.

“We are delighted to receive a Gold Medal for our Craft & Casks Imperial Stout Finish. It’s an innovative pairing and it’s great that we can now open up our distillery to the world and shout about the noise our spirits have been making behind the scenes.  This prestigious award proves we have produced yet another new and bold offering with an award-winning profile.”

Aaron Flaherty, Head Distiller at Hinch Distillery, added: “Premium Irish Whiskey is one of the fastest growing spirits categories in the world. We have been very creative in ramping up our offering by pairing matured whiskeys with craft beers from this part of Ireland.”

Hinch Distillery also makes Ninth Wave Gin, which was the most highly awarded gin in the world in 2020.

The distillery now offers tours of its whiskey making process, as well as gin tours.