Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Rifters Gin International Acclaim

When two Central Otago builders won international acclaim last year for their boutique brand of gin brewed in Arrowtown they were overwhelmed with the award.

Now Hamish Bourke and Stu Clark have done it again with their Rifters Gin.

The company recently entered Rifters Original Dry Gin and Quartz Gin in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition for the second successive year and won a silver award for both gins along with a bronze award for their bottle design.

Hamish says it is hard to describe how significant the recognition is for the brand.

“After we won in San Francisco last year there was a feeling of shock. It was unbelievable to receive such acclaim after only a few months in the game but to win again feels like we are definitely on the right track.”

“San Francisco is the largest competition of its kind in the world and anyone who is anyone in the spirit world knows about it. The judging panel are among the most respected and experienced experts in the industry so to have our Arrowtown gin awarded medals on this international stage means everything.”

Backing up the accolades from San Francisco are consecutive wins at the 2022 New Zealand Spirt Awards where Rifters Gin took out three awards – a silver award for the Original Dry Gin and bronze medals for the Quartz Gin and Pinot Noir Aged Gin.

“It’s just as important to us to get that tick of approval in New Zealand,” says Hamish. “We are all about showcasing Otago and what we have to offer so it’s awesome to have our fine boutique gins recognised in this capacity.”

The pair set up their Arrowtown Distillery in 2019 and they say distilling is becoming increasingly popular across New Zealand which is beneficial for the industry at large.

“With more distilleries popping up across the country, they are showcasing the best produce regionally and what is being created down under. It’s good for everyone.” 

“Stu and I would love to have a bigger facility so we can take people through and give them a taste of the entire Rifters story from start to finish and that is definitely a vision we have for the future,” says Hamish.

Rifters Gins profiles a variety of local botanicals and Hamish describes the Quartz Gin as “Central Otago in a bottle”.

“We forage for botanicals on our property, so the gin features genuine flavours of wild thyme, elderberry and manuka from this region. Our water supply comes from local glacier fed rivers and lakes of the Southern Alps so it’s a great refreshing alpine drop. Consistency is key in this game and we love to reflect the authentic floral notes of Otago with every batch we produce. It’s always exciting to see what innovation we can bring to the brand.”