The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) is pleased to announce that entries are now open for the 2021 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards (ADSA). 

The ADSA is the largest national awards program recognising excellence in Australian distilled spirits, liqueurs, and aromatics. 

RASV CEO, Brad Jenkins is thrilled to have entries open for the 2021 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards which bring together accomplished experts in distilling, spirits retailing and writing to judge Australia’s best distilled spirits, liqueurs, and aromatics.

“The Australian Distilled Spirits Awards attract entries from distillers all around Australia to benchmark against industry standards, seek advice from an independent panel of experts, and promote and market medal-winning products using the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards seal of excellence,” said Brad.

“The Australian Distilled Spirits Awards are highly valued and respected by the Australian distilling industry because they continue to evolve with industry trends and introduce new ways to celebrate and recognise distilled spirits, liqueurs, and aromatics whilst providing a platform to improve quality and inspire innovation,” said Brad.

In the years since the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards were established in 2015, the growth has been extraordinary. This increasing interest and sustained growth of entries is reflective of the remarkable expansion in the Australian distilling industry”, concluded Brad.

The Australian Distilled Spirits Awards is overseen and shaped by an Industry Advisory Group who work closely with RASV to develop the future direction of the program. The group features some of the Australian spirits industry’s most highly regarded professionals including Sebastian Costello, Stuart Gregor and Sebastian Raeburn.  

Sebastian (Seb) Costello, Australian spirits ambassador and former owner of Melbourne bar Bad Frankie, returns as Head Judge in 2021. Seb will lead a highly regarded panel of judges who are selected for their product knowledge and expertise in industry and include distillers, spirits writers, bar owners, and retailers.

“The Australian distilling industry is a close network of people, and events like the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards provide a wonderful opportunity for us to collaborate and share our knowledge and experience as we carefully taste and consider the hundreds of products,” said Seb.  

The panel of more than 40 judges bring the diverse skills, knowledge, and experience required to assess the many hundred entries and ultimately award up to 16 champion trophies.

“Each entry will be judged blind on the five criteria of colour, nose, pallet, balance and finish. The panel of experts has a tough but rewarding task of carefully assessing the entries both individually and again as a group to provide the best overview of the products strengths, and how it might be improved,” stated Seb.

In 2021, categories include Whisky, Gin, Vodka, Brandy, Rum, Liqueur, Alternative Spirit, Aromatic as well as the new categories of Cane Spirit and Vermouth, whilst the Gin category will now award not one, but four trophies.   

The changes to the gin category better reflect industry trends and acknowledge the category’s sustained growth with four new trophies for Champion London Dry Gin, Champion New World / Contemporary Gin, Champion Navy Gin, and Champion Other Gin (Not LD, NW or Navy).

“The broadening of the gin category, along with the addition of new trophies for Vermouth and Cane Spirit, acknowledges the evolution of the industry both domestically and abroad and an increasingly sophisticated consumer market,” concluded Seb.

Along with the category trophies, entrants compete for several major awards including Champion Micro Batch Spirit, Champion Small Batch Spirit, and the coveted Champion Australian Distiller Trophy.

Australian spirits producers are encouraged to get their entries in early to be part of this prestigious program.

Entries for the competition close on Friday 13 August. For more information or to enter online visit  www.rasv.com.au/spirits or email [email protected].

Key Dates 

Entries Close: until Friday 13 August

Judging: Monday 30 August – Wednesday 1 September 

Awards Presentation: Thursday 30 September  

Stay up to date with the latest developments and engage with ADSA on Facebook and Instagram: Instagram @RASofVic 


About the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards 

  • Conducted by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) and commencing in 2015, the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards (ADSA) is Australia’s largest national spirits competition highlighting the innovation and excellence of Australian-manufactured spirits, liqueurs, aromatics and vermouths.
  • The Australian Distilled Spirits Awards are judged by some of Australia’s leading experts in distilling, spirits retailing and writing. 
  • The 2021 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards offers sixteen trophies across ten categories, including the Major Trophy ‘Champion Australian Distiller’. This trophy acknowledges outstanding achievement in distilling excellence and is awarded each year to the distiller with the highest average score, calculated from the distiller’s top-three scoring exhibits.
  • Alongside the major trophy of ‘Champion Australian Distiller,’ in 2021, the ADSA will recognise the winners of champion trophies including:
    • Champion Whisky
    • Champion London Dry Gin
    • Champion New World / Contemporary Gin
    • Champion Navy Gin
    • Champion Other Gin (Not LD, NW or Navy)
    • Champion Vodka
    • Champion Brandy
    • Raymond ‘Spike’ Dessert III Trophy for Champion Rum
    • Champion Cane Spirit
    • Champion Liqueur
    • Champion Alternative Spirit
    • Champion Aromatic
    • Champion Vermouth
    • Champion Small Batch Spirit
    • Champion Micro Batch

About Head Judge Seb Costello 

  • Sebastian Costello is the former owner of Bad Frankie, a multi-award-winning cocktail bar in Fitzroy that serves exclusively Australian made spirits.
  • He has 20 years’ experience in the drinks industry and is recognised authority on Australian cocktails and spirits. 
  • Sebastian has judged with the ADSA since its inception in 2015, judging as a Panel Chair for 2017, 2018 and 2019, and as Head Judge in 2020.  

About the RASV 

The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), is a member-based, not-for-profit organisation that was formed in 1848 and the purpose is to celebrate agriculture, cultivate events and strengthen communities.

Our vision is for the RASV to be globally recognised as a seal of excellence, highly valued for:

• Showcasing food and beverage, produce and producers

• Presenting premier events, including but not limited to the Royal Melbourne Show

• Activating and creating vibrant event spaces at Melbourne Showgrounds