Ian Atherton of Spirits Platform was last night inducted into the Icons of Whisky Australia Hall of Fame. Other notable winners on the night included Alex Dahlenburg of Mjølner in Sydney as Bartender of the Year and Whisky Brand Ambassadors: Matt Bailey – Scotch, Dan Woolley – Irish, Thalita Alves – American and Mark Hickey – New World.
The awards are owned by UK based Whisky Magazine with nominations and votes coming from local industry. This is the third year that these awards have been run and the first time Icons of Whisky Awards have been held in Sydney.
James Buntin hosted the evening, the winners will be automatically entered into the World Icons of Whisky Awards next May in London.
Atherton is a stalwart of the whisky category having been responsible for the distribution and growth of many of the world’s most well-known brands – in Australia. Having started his career in the early 80’s Atherton worked for Gilbeys selling both Scotch and Australian whisky, before changing the Australian distribution landscape with his work at Suntory Australia and the subsequent growth of Japanese Whisky.
In 2016, Atherton joined Spirits Platform as CEO, and today the company distributes an impressive range of premium whiskies, including; The Macallan, Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte, Highland Park, Naked Grouse, Octomore and The Glenrothes; Irish whiskeys such as The Irishman and Writers Tears, American Whiskey like Westland and Yellow Rose and also Australian Whisky from NANT, Tasmania.
Ian Atherton was also recently inducted into the “Keepers of The Quaich” in recognition of the 30+ years he has spent promoting scotch whisky in the Australian market.
Here is the full list of the winners.
Icons of Whisky Australia 2020
Hall of Fame Inductee:
Ian Atherton, Spirits Platform
Distillery Manager of the Year:
Winner: Ian Schmidt – Tin Shed distillery
Master Distiller / Blender of the Year:
Winner: Jimmy McKeown – Whipper Snapper Distillery
Distiller of the Year:
Winner: Sullivan’s Cove
Visitor Attraction of the Year:
Winner: New World Distillery
Visitor Attraction Manager of the Year:
Winner: Harriet Leigh – Archie Rose
Craft Producer of the Year:
Winner: Belgrove Distillery
Brand Innovator of the Year:
Winner: Rochford Distillery
Whisky Media Communicator of the Year:
Winner: Whisky and Wisdom
Single Outlet Retailer of the Year:
Winner: Casa de Vinos (Melbourne)
Multiple Outlets Retailer of the Year:
Winner: Camperdown Cellars – NSW
Online Retailer of the Year:
Winner: Dan Murphy Online
Supermarket of the Year:
Winner: Dan Murphy’s
Travel Retailer of the Year:
Winner: Lagardère Travel Retail
Scotch Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year:
Winner: Matt Bailey – The Scotch Malt Whisky Society Australia
Irish Whiskey Brand Ambassador of the Year:
Winner: Dan Woolley – The Exchange
American Whiskey Brand Ambassador of the Year:
Winner: Thalita Alves – Brown Forman
World Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year:
Winner: Mark Hickey – Nant Whisky
Bar of the Year:
Winner: Whisky and Alement
Hotel Bar of the Year:
Winner: Evolve Spirits Bar, Hobart
Bar Group of the Year:
Winner: Speakeasy Group
Bartender of the Year:
Winner: Alex Dahlenburg – Mjølner