Yarra Valley-based distillery Four Pillars has been named International Gin Producer of the Year at the world's largest spirits competition in London.
To win the award was "really, truly, bloody incredible" said Four Pillars distiller and co-founder Cameron Mackenzie, who received the trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) gala event in London's Guildhall building overnight.
"When we started making test batches of gin back in 2012, we never in our maddest, wildest dreams thought this could happen so quickly. To say that I am in a state of disbelief would be vastly understating the true state of my disbelief."
Widely considered to be 'the Oscars of the drinks industry' and now in its 50th year, the IWSC received more than 3000 entries across categories including gin, whisky, rum, fortified wine and champagne.
The first round of IWSC medals and trophies for 2019 were announced in August, with Australia's Kangaroo Island Spirits O'Gin named best contemporary style gin in the world.
Four Pillars is the first Australian distillery to be awarded International Gin Producer of the Year at the IWSC.
"The award is not for a single one of our gins but for the whole of our gin business and that's what makes it so incredibly special," Mackenzie said.
"The previous two winners of this award are Herno from Sweden in 2017 and Kyoto Distillery in Japan last year, so we couldn't be in better company. They are two of the greatest distilleries and two of our best mates in the world of gin."
In addition to its core range, Four Pillars' collaboration gins with venues such as St Kilda's Esplanade Hotel have become sought-after by drinks collectors, and the distillery's annual Christmas release is one of Australia's most popular seasonal spirits.
According to data from the International Wine and Spirit Record, the company has grown at an average of 83.5 per cent a year since its launch in 2013, while Australian consumption of gin has increased by 15.2 per cent per annum over the same period. Four Pillars took on beverage giant Lion as a 50 per cent shareholder in April.