Never Never Distilling Co’s Southern Strength Gin has been named the World’s Best Classic Gin at the influential World Gin Awards in London. It’s the first time an Australian gin has won the prestigious award.

“This is a huge accolade for our young distillery,” managing director George Georgiadis said in a press release. “It’s a much-coveted award and firmly puts Australia and South Australian gin on the world map, in a similar guise to what the World’s Best Whisky award did for Sullivan’s Cove and Tasmanian whisky.”

The winning gin is bottled under the local distillery’s Dark Label Series banner. At 53 per cent alcohol, it packs maximum flavour and intensity. “It’s a gin with purpose,” says head distiller Tim Boast. “It was made with a classic or savoury gin cocktail in mind. It’s a little higher in alcohol than our [flagship] Triple Juniper Gin and botanically richer, so it stands up to tonic and dilution.”

The small distillery bested emerging and established brands, including the world-famous Tanqueray. Never Never’s Juniper Freak Gin was also awarded Australia’s Best Navy Gin.

It marks a banner year for the distillery, which also scored a gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in May 2018.

“When we started our distillery, we wanted to make waves with a modern take on the classic gin style, but never thought that we would have such a global impact in the short time that we have been in operation,” says brand director Sean Baxter. “We are blown away by the support we have received from local and global gin lovers. It gives us the drive to continue to take on the big guys.”

The team has just opened a pop-up distillery door on the upper level of The Stag Public House, so it’s now even easier to sample their award-winning gin. The temporary distillery door operates every Sunday for the duration of Fringe. Guests can experience guided tastings and masterclasses and try gin-based cocktails and spritz flights – or simply grab a bottle to go.