ARISAIG: A small Nova Scotian distillery will compete against the best of the best around the world next week after being selected last month as Canada’s best in the “Classic Gin” category during the first round of the 2019 World Gin Awards at the Caledonian Club in London, England.
Since their inception in 2014, the Arisaig-based, Steinhart Distillery has put its product on a pedestal, providing high-standard quality spirits, that have won multiple awards at national and international competitions.
On top of having its Classic Gin awarded best classic gin in Canada in the “Flavoured Gin” category, Steinhart’s Haskap Gin won gold, while their Blueberry Gin took home silver.
“It’s like winning against Tom Brady at the Super Bowl or Tom Hanks at the Oscars,” the company’s owner Thomas Steinhart said. “You know you deserve it but you’re also incredibly aware that you’re standing among legends. That’s what makes this award so meaningful – to myself, my staff and to our customers.”
The first round saw awards being distributed over 10 categories, by their nations of origin. The country winners of the 10 categories will go head-to-head to be selected as best in the world for their respective category. Those 10 category finalists will then be in the running for the ultimate award – the world’s best gin – which will be announced on February 21 at the Gin Magazine Awards Dinner in London.
The World Gin Awards competition has 20 international judges that choose gins from approximately 80 distilleries from around the world. Their selections are blind-tasted and voted on by over a hundred attendees, including Steinhart.
Steinhart considers the “Classic Gin” category as the most prestigious out of the 10 categories distillers competed in; others included “Contemporary Style Gin” and “London Dry Gin.”
A classic gin should have a clean base spirit with a neutral flavour, which allows the distilled flavours of the botanicals to come through.
“In my opinion, what makes the best gin is the taste; it has to be smooth, have a nice nose and a nice finish,” he said. “But everybody has different taste buds.”
This multi award-winning gin has paved the way for Steinhart Distillery. In 2018, their Classic Gin helped the distillery get an invitation to the London Gin Guild as the first and only distiller from North America.
Steinhart immigrated to Canada from Germany in 1997 and then moved to Nova Scotia in 2001. It wasn’t until four years ago that he decided to pursue his life-long dream of making gin full time.
“I thought about [it] before, but the laws and the legislation weren’t there yet.”