In a rollercoaster year, North of Eden's unique small batch approach proves size isn't everything.
The bushfire-impacted Bega Valley gin distillery has taken out another two international gongs.
Two North of Eden gins, The Classic and The Connoisseur, have won a medal each at this year's renowned San Francisco World Spirits Competition, announced on Monday, May 25.
The Classic was awarded silver and The Connoisseur taking a bronze medal.
These add to a previous four medals won by these two gins, an amazing achievement for a small, regional distillery that has been operating commercially only since March 2019.
Previous accolades heaped on North of Eden gins include silver and bronze from the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2019, and silver and bronze from the 2019 Australian Gin Awards.
Winners of the renowned San Francisco World Spirits Competition were selected from a pool of more than 3000 entries from around the globe, by a stellar panel of judges, through blind tastings.
Gavin Hughes and Karen Touchie are the spirited couple behind these premium gins, which are made in small batches of only 200 bottles at a time on "Jill", their much loved 100-litre copper still.
Proving that size isn't everything, the world of craft distilling is beginning to become a badge of honour for Mr Hughes and Ms Touchie.
"A 100-litre still might sound big, but in the world of commercial gin production it's actually really small and it's one of the things that sets us apart from other distilleries," Mr Hughes explained.
"It's also why these latest medals are so fantastic because they demonstrate we can produce consistently great gin using small batch artisan methods."
However, despite the awards, and like many in small business on the Far South Coast, Gavin and Karen have been doing it tough this year.
They are unable to open their cellar door, and their highly anticipated Gin School, which had been enjoying a massive response, was open for only two weeks after the bushfires before it was forced to close due to COVID-19.
"This was supposed to be our big launch year," Ms Touchie said.
"All our gin school classes were sold out, but between the bushfires and now the pandemic we've had to refund months of bookings and we have no idea about when we might be able to re-open."
Despite the setbacks the couple are rolling with the punches, and are planning to release a brand-new gin, The Admiral, in the next few weeks.
At a delightfully sinful 114 proof, The Admiral will be North of Eden's "Navy Strength" gin and, according to Mr Hughes, the couple's best gin yet.
"We're hoping for gold for this one," he said with a laugh.
The Admiral, and other North of Eden offerings, are available online at www.northofeden.com.au
The story Bega's craft gin distillers claim more international medals first appeared on Bega District News.