The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) is venturing into the world of distilled spirits for the first time since 1981 next year as it launches its inaugural stand-alone Sydney Royal Distilled Spirits Show, designed to support the growth of the Australian spirits and drinks industry by providing producers with an opportunity to benchmark products at a national level.
Under the guidance of appointed chair of judges and co-founder of Four Pillars Gin, Stuart Gregor, the Sydney Royal Distilled Spirits Show will join the RAS’ calendar of wine, dairy and fine food competitions which include the Sydney Royal Wine Show and Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Show.
Set to take place in September 2024, classes will include Brandy, Cane Spirit, Gin, Liqueur, Rum, Vodka, Whiskey, Alternative Distilled Spirits, Non-Alcoholic and a stand-alone Ready to Drink (RTD) class, with fifteen Champion trophies.
Gregor said the spirits industry in Australia had grown ‘phenomenally’ over the past decade and Sydney Royal’s decision to create and promote a stand-alone competition for all spirits, RTDs and non-alcoholic spirit-type products was testament to the industry’s growth and increasing maturity.
“Everyone knows how rich the history of the RAS is, and for those of us who grew up in Sydney and have attended the Easter Show every year since birth, it is wonderful to see spirits play a part alongside our great wines, beers, ciders and of course the best agricultural products, baked goods and livestock in Australia.
“This will be a robust show, with what I am sure will be an impressively strong judging panel who will rigorously and honestly assess the best that Australia’s 450 plus distillers can produce,” said Gregor.
The new competition will aim to highlight products made with at least 85 percent Australian-grown ingredients. This requirement is currently implemented across all wine, dairy, and fine food competitions.
Championships up-for-grab will include Champion Cane Spirit or Rum, Champion Single Malt Whiskey, Champion Grain or Blend Whiskey, Champion Traditional Gin, Champion Contemporary Gin, Champion Other Gin, Champion Liqueur, Champion Vodka, Champion Alternate Spirit, Distilled Spirits Grand Champion, International Judge Trophy, Chair of Judges Trophy, Best NSW Spirit, Champion Non-Alcoholic Spirit, The JJ McWilliam Memorial Perpetual Trophy for Best Brandy and Australia’s first 'officially’ judged Champion RTD.
The Sydney Royal Distilled Spirits Show will open for entries in April 2024.