• People’s Choice Spirits Awards announces its 2022 winners

    Manchester’s Stoller Hall was the venue last night for the inaugural standalone People’s Choice Spirits Awards and the chance to bring together leading lights from across the world of spirits to recognise some of the best producers, brands and distilleries in an event attended by a room full of the spirits, bar and cocktail industries’ brightest stars. From premium whiskies and sipping tequilas, to spirits retailers and independent bars, here are the stars of 2022.

    Manchester’s Stoller Hall was the venue last night for the inaugural standalone People’s Choice Spirits Awards and the chance to bring together leading lights from across the world of spirits to recognise some of the best producers, brands and distilleries in an event attended by a room full of the spirits, bar and cocktail industries’ brightest stars. From premium whiskies and sipping tequilas, to spirits retailers and independent bars, here are the stars of 2022.

    By February 8, 2022

    Millie Milliken, an award-winning drinks writer in her own right, looks back on the results of the People’s Choice Spirits Awards and highlights the main winners from a fun-packed evening.

    A Monday night in February wouldn’t usually be a hot night in the drinks calendar, but when it comes to the People’s Choice Drinks Awards, it’s a no-brainer. And last night proved just that as the great and the good descended on the award-winning music venue, Stoller Hall, from all across the country to celebrate some of the best spirits, bar and retail companies in the UK right now.

    Bartenders, brand owners, marketeers, producers and journalists – and more – gathered in the Manchester venue to find out who had taken the titles in each of the categories as well as take advantage of the awards being the first opportunity this year to see and celebrate industry friends. There was also the chance to vote for The Story Behind The Label Video Challenge (sponsored by The Buyer) award, which tasked brands with creating a two-minute video about the making and shaping of their spirits. All videos will be available to view on the People’s Choice Drinks Awards Youtube channel.

    Helena Nicklin and Aidy Smith were hosts with the most for the awards. Pic copyright Phil Tragen 2021

    Presented by The Three Drinkers presenters Helena Nicklin and Aidy Smith (with some comic interludes from Britain’s Got Talent finalist Steve Royle), this year’s awards was a first for the The People’s Choice. 2022 marked the first time that co-organisers Janet Harrison and Judy Kendrick have run a competition entirely dedicated to the spirits industry.

    Bold moves

    It came after 2021 saw the duo add eight spirits categories to the already popular People’s Choice Wine Awards – now, 19 categories represent the industry. It was clearly a clever move – submissions for the 2022 awards tripled from 2021 and companies who entered ranged from heavy weights like Emporia Brands, Brown Forman and William Grant & Sons, to smaller, independent brands like AB Rum, Whitebox Drinks and everything in between.

    Indeed, for spirits brands these awards offer some pretty big rewards (on top of the chance to be a proud owner of one of its trophies or medals).

    The People’s Choice Spirits Awards is a chance to recognise the best talent in the spirits industry

    One is that every single finalist will be listed on the awards’ website’s soon-to-launch Drinks Finder which will focus on six key drinking occasions (including Aperitivo, Celebration and Cosy Night In), making it even easier for consumers to get their hands on some of the best products on the market. Another is that, just like the wine awards, entries have been judged first by consumers, and second by key players in the drinks on-trade, from buyers and importers to journalists. We can’t think of another awards that gets product into the hands of captive buyers at so many touchpoints.

    This year’s entries were also an exciting reflection of the trends driving the spirits and cocktail market in 2022. Mindful Drinking was a particularly popular category this year, reflecting the exponential growth – and upping in quality – of the no and low movement; as was The Great Outdoors category which showcases ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails and mixed drinks, from Bloody Mary’s to hard seltzers. Oh and, of course, plenty of gin.

    And the winners are…

    Mindful Drinking

    WINNER: Everleaf Mountain, submitted by: Everleaf

    GOLD: Three Spirit – Livener, submitted by: Beyond Alcohol Ltd.

    SILVER: New Dawn, submitted by: The Devant Drinks Company

     

    Great Outdoors

     

    WINNER: Bloody Classic, submitted by: Bloody Drinks

    GOLD: Pocket Negroni, submitted by: Whitebox

    SILVER: Sipsmith Zesty Orange Gin & Tonic, submitted by: Sipsmith

     

    Rum: On The Rocks

    WINNER: AB Gold Rum, submitted by: AB Gold Rum

    GOLD: Decorrum Spiced, submitted by: Decorrum Ltd

    SILVER: Brass Neck, submitted by: Brass Neck Rum Ltd

     

    Rum: Spice Up Your Life

    WINNER: Discarded Banana Peel Rum, submitted by: William Grant And Sons Ltd

    GOLD: Sly Dog Spiced Rum, submitted by: The SLY Group Ltd

    SILVER: Dead Man’s Fingers Spiced Rum, submitted by: Halewood Artisanal Spirits

     

    Rum: Easy Weekday

     

    WINNER: Beach Bum Silver, submitted by: Beach Bum Beverages Ltd

    GOLD: Salford Honey Rum, submitted by: The Salford Rum Company

    SILVER: AB Gold Rum, submitted by: AB Gold Rum

     

    Gin: The Classic G&T

    WINNER: Tobermory Limited Edition Hebridean Mountain Gin, submitted by: Distell International

    GOLD: Sky Garden Gin, submitted by: Dark Art Gin Ltd t/a Dark Art Distillery

    SILVER: Whitley Neill London Dry Gin, submitted by: Halewood Artisanal Spirits

     

    Gin: Gin Fusion

    WINNER: Atlas Love Cake Gin, submitted by: Atlas Spirits Ltd

    GOLD: Kingdom’s Ginger Spiced Gin, submitted by: Kingdom Recommends Ltd

    SILVER: Thai Inspired, submitted by: Foxtail Distillery

     

    Gin: The Contemporary G&T

    WINNER: Byron’s Gin – Bird Cherry, submitted by: Speyside Distillers Company Ltd

    GOLD: Foghouse, submitted by: Foghouse Spirits

    SILVER: G’Vine Floraison Gin, submitted by: Maison Villevert

     

    Tequila: Premium Sippers

     

    WINNER: El Tequileño Reposado Gran Reserva, submitted by: Jorge Salles Cuervo y Sucs S.A de C.V

    GOLD: El Tequileño Añejo Gran Reserva, submitted by: Jorge Salles Cuervo y Sucs S.A de C.V

     

    Vodka: Fusion

     

    WINNER: Finlandia Grapefruit, submitted by: Brown Forman

    GOLD: JJ Whitley Vanilla Vodka, submitted by: Halewood Artisanal Spirits

     

    Vodka: Small Batch Vodka

    Broken Clock winners Pic copyright Phil Tragen 2021

    WINNER: Broken Clock Vodka, submitted by: Broken Clock Vodka (The Hidgate Ltd)

    GOLD: Royal Mash Vintage Vodka 2020, submitted by: Royal Mash Limited

    SILVER: Kingdom’s Vodka, submitted by: Kingdom Recommends Ltd

     

    Whisky/Whiskey: Easy Weekday

    WINNER: Daddy Rack Tennessee Straight Small Batch Whiskey, submitted by: Emporia Brands Ltd.

    GOLD: Woven, Experience N.1, submitted by: wonderhouse

    SILVER: The Gauldrons, submitted by: Douglas Laing & Co

     

    Whisky/Whiskey: Treat Yourself

     

    WINNER: Bunnahabhain 12yo Single Malt Scotch Whisky, submitted by: Distell International

    GOLD: Spey Chairman’s Choice, submitted by: Speyside Distillers Company Ltd

    SILVER: Black Bull 21yo, submitted by: Duncan Taylor Scotch Whiskies Ltd.

     

    Liqueurs: Short & Sweet (Fruit)

    WINNER: Gabriel Boudier Crème de Cassis de Dijon, submitted by: Emporia Brands Ltd.

     

    Liqueurs: Short & Sweet (cream)

    WINNER: Amarula Cream Liqueur, submitted by: Distell International

     

    Liqueurs: Short & Sweet

     

    GOLD: The Norfolk PX, submitted by: Mangrove Global Ltd

     

    Best Online Spirits Retailer 2022

    WINNER: Distillers Direct

     

    Best Spirits Supermarket 2022

    The Aldi team won the supermarket category. Pic copyright Phil Tragen 2021

    WINNER: Aldi

     

    Best Independent Spirits Retailer 2022

    The Spirit Specialists. Pic copyright Phil Tragen 2022

    WINNER: The Spirit Specialist, Howden

     

    Best Independent Bar 2022 (sponsored by Master of Malt Trade)

    WINNER: Below Stairs, Leeds

     

    The Story Behind The Label Video Challenge (sponsored by The Buyer)

    Story Behind the Label winners sponsored by The Buyer. Pic copyright Phil Tragen 2022

    Speyside Distillery

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