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Reefton Distilling Co.’s Little Biddy Gins have achieved Silver and Bronze at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition – considered to be the world’s most influential spirits competition.

Nestled deep in the untamed wilderness of New Zealand’s West Coast and once a thriving centre of the New Zealand gold rush, Reefton may appear an unlikely place for making award winning spirits, but Reefton Distilling Co.’s Managing Director Patsy Bass, says that Reefton has everything that they need in abundance.

And it seems that the judges at one of the world’s most respected spirits contests, The San Francisco World Spirits Competition are in agreement, as Reefton Distilling Co. have just scooped up two medals in the Tasting section, just five months after opening their doors.

The San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) was founded in 2000 to recognize exceptional products in the spirits industry and is one of the oldest competitions of its kind, with nearly two decades of experience.

Considered to be the most influential spirits competition in the world, the 2019 Competition was the biggest in its history.  The SFWSC is highly respected due in part to its esteemed judges made up of established spirits-industry experts.  Each with a distinct story and trusted palate, these seasoned experts are one of the reasons an SFWSC medal indicates the highest caliber of quality.

Reefton Distilling Co. achieved a Silver Medal for their Little Biddy West Coast Botanical Dry Gin (40%abv) and a Bronze Medal for their Little Biddy Gin – Black Label (46%abv)  

Products awarded a Silver medal are described as outstanding in their category, showing refinement, finesse, and complexity. They are among the best examples of their particular category. A Bronze medal is awarded to a product that is commercially sound, and deserves to be recognized as among the better examples of its category.

Receiving details of their achievements was a watershed moment for Patsy and her team at the distillery. “This was our first ever competition, we were encouraged to take part following the sellout success of our Little Biddy Gin range, which literally flew off the shelves as soon as we opened our doors.”  Patsy added, “We only entered two of our spirits and I never dared to dream that we would receive an award being such a newcomer to the industry, we simply entered as a benchmarking exercise. To then receive an award for each was exhilarating.

“it’s a wonderful acknowledgement, it shows that the New Zealand spirits industry is coming of age and that our gutsy little distillery can stand with the best.  It’s a huge vote of confidence in our products and a tremendous morale boost for our staff and our shareholders. We all believed that we were crafting something special, but to have this recognition so early on is beyond fabulous.”

Created in honour of Reefton legend Little Biddy, a pipe-smoking, gin-toting, 4-foot-tall gold prospector.  The Little Biddy Gin range includes native botanicals from deep within the same West Coast rainforest where Biddy once fossicked for gold. The company combine pristine West Coast local natural water sources, with these locally sourced and foraged ingredients to create a range of Gins with a unique West Coast flavour.

The recipes for each of their range of West Coast gins, Little Biddy West Coast Botanical Dry Gin; Little Biddy Gin – Black Label and Little Biddy Gin – Gold Label have been carefully created to craft a uniquely New Zealand selection of small batch distilled gins with attitude.

Reefton Distilling Co. has also just secured four awards in the inaugural New Zealand Spirits Awards.

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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