THE South African gin, Autograph Gin won a prestigious award at the International Gin Guide Awards recently.

These awards are an independent, global celebration of our historic, diverse and growing spirits creation.

Highly recognised and respected by the trade and consumers alike, the Gin Guide Awards highlight the exceptional products, distilleries and people within the gin industry across the world.

Autograph Gin was voted by the judges as the best gin across Africa for 2019 in the best international category.

Entries were received from 24 countries and the judges were required to review hundreds of entries.

Each category has one overall highest scorer in a geographic area (Americas, Africa, Asia, Australasia and Europe).

Autograph Gin is produced at the boutique, small batch Craft Distillery in Stellenbosch. It is owned by Mathew Beach, one of the youngest distillers in Mzansi, and co-owner Anthony Norton.

Norton expressed delight at the recognition, soon after the Michelangelo Award it received in 2018, as the best craft gin in Mzansi.

According to the organisers, the shortlists and winners of the awards are selected through a rigorous blind tasting and scoring process developed by spirits expert Paul Jackson.

Judges looked for specialism in gin distillation, spirits retail, mixology, events, venue management, marketing and PR.

Head judge Paul Jackson, founder and editor of The Gin Guide, said: “The quality and diversity of gins have been outstanding. The range of gins has continued to increase, from beautifully classic London Dry Gins through to exciting and innovative gins from as far as Mexico, Brazil, New Zealand and South Africa.

“Huge congratulations and significant credibility go to all the winners and finalists. It is a remarkable achievement to be a winner in The Gin Guide Awards, with the need to unanimously impress an expert panel across key characteristics of the spirit. Previous winners have used their success in The Gin Guide Awards to help take their businesses to the next level, and I look forward to seeing this year’s winners benefiting in the same way.”

In Mzansi, gin lovers has a choice of just a few brands in the past but over the last couple of years, the industry has grown tremendously.

There are currently more than 200 gin producers in Mzansi, with an estimated combined annual trunover of R1 billion.