by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

County Down’s brand new Hinch Distillery has walked away with a globally recognised Trophy at one of the world’s top spirits’ awards. The company, which produces Ninth Wave Irish gin, as well as its Hinch whiskey range, took away the ‘Gin of the Year’ medal, marking the distillery’s first ever Trophy win.


Recognition as a CWSA Trophy Winner is the highest honour in the biggest and most prestigious wine and spirits competition in Hong Kong and China.

It also received three other CWSA awards for its distinctive Irish whiskey range. This includes Double Gold for its Hinch 10 Year Old Sherry Finish Irish whiskey, Gold for its Hinch 5 Year Old Double Wood and Silver for its Hinch Peated Single Malt.

Samples from Hinch Distillery underwent the unique ‘CWSA Triple Blind Tasting Method’ that the CWSA organisation has fine-tuned over 20 seasons and is highly regarded for.

The method used does not allow judges to receive any information about the country of origin of the wine or spirit nor does it allow any indication of the brand and forbids communication of findings among the judging panel.

It is known as one of the strictest blind tasting standards in the sector beckoning award applications from some of the world’s most celebrated brands.

The 2020 medals rack up a lengthy list of awards bestowed upon Hinch distillery in less than a year since its launch.

The awards follow on from over a dozen other wins for Hinch Distillery in 2020 including Gold Medals for its Ninth Wave Gin brand at the World Gin Awards, Australian International Sprits Competition (AUISC), and the Canadian Alberta Beverage Awards, where again it was awarded the Best Gin award for the whole competition, the first ever non-Canadian gin to achieve this accolade.

The distillery, which produces Ninth Wave Gin as well as its Hinch whiskey range at its site just outside Belfast, is set to officially open in October, with public tours due to launch in 2021.

Speaking about the latest trophy, Hinch Distillery Chairman, Dr Terry Cross OBE, said: “Taking our first ever trophy at CWSA 2020 makes the team very proud and is a highlight for us during what is a very surreal year for the trade. To win big during the current climate and at a competition that boasts one of the most stern blind tasting formulas there is, means our products surpass quality tests.

“The Chinese wine and spirits market has grown massively in recent years, and with China’s economy growing on average 7-8% each year, it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

“The awards also demonstrate that our hard work and technical knowledge is recognised at the highest level and with CWSA recognition, customers and trade members can feel assured that they are serving up the best quality gin and whiskies around”.

The wins will help drive forward Hinch’s goal to further expand its already international client base.

Both Hinch Whiskey and Ninth Wave Gin are targeting the ever-growing number of consumers who are attracted to premium spirits which deliver in both quality taste and high-level brand values. These consumers are also attracted to brands which deliver authenticity in their story and a provenance which can only be delivered from distillation at a real working, craft distillery.

To date the response to both Hinch Whiskey and Ninth Wave Gin has been phenomenal with distributors having been signed up in over half the target countries including the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, USA, Japan, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Italy, UK, Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

The distillery and visitors centre, which is located between Ballynahinch and Belfast, are both nearing completion with much of the beautiful distilling equipment, including three hand crafted copper whiskey stills and one gin still, already in situ.

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