South Island liqueur and vermouth get global recognition

Sheringham Distillery and Esquimalt Vermouth & Apéritifs win World Drink Awards

Esquimalt - Vermouth & Apéritifs / Facebook

The winners of this year’s World Drink Awards have been announced and once again South Island producers have taken home top prizes.

The awards based out of Norwich, UK celebrate the best of global alcoholic beverages and are comprised of several competitions judged by expert panels that recognize everything from rum and tequila to brandy and specialty cocktails. 

This year, South Island producers won big in the liqueur and vermouth competitions. 

Sheringham Distillery took home a gold medal at the World Liqueur Awards for its Fresh Lemon Liqueur in the World’s Best Fruit Liqueur category. It was recognized for the top award alongside Taiwan’s Alex & Harry Distilling Lychee Liqueur and France’s Belle de Brillet Pear and Cognac Liqueur.  

The natural lemon liqueur is made with the distillery’s gin and has a refreshing zesty taste that is the perfect addition to a cocktail or just on the rocks.   

Based in Langford, Sheringham Distillery was founded by Jason and Alayne MacIsaac. The distillery takes strong inspirations from the West Coast. Its utilization of seasonal ingredients found on and around the Island bring an authentically local feel to its spirits that are inspired by everything from blossoming cherry trees in Beacon Hill Park to fresh showers in the coastal rainforests. 

Sheringham Distillery was recently a finalist for business of the year (11-39 employees) at the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s Greater Victoria Business Awards. The distillery strives to maintain sustainable practices at the core of its business.  

Sheringham Distillery’s Raincoast Gin also took home a silver medal at this year’s World Gin Awards in February in the World’s Best Contemporary Style Gin category. Its Raincoast Gin is made with traditional juniper and coastal botanicals and has additional notes of oak moss and nettle.  

Esquimalt Vermouth & Apéritifs continued the South Island’s winning streak by taking home two silver medals in the World Vermouth Awards competition. 

The craft producer’s Rosso Vermouth took second place in the World’s Best Semi Sweet Vermouth category, while its Dry Vermouth won silver in the World’s Best Dry Vermouth category. They were recognized for the awards alongside Brazil’s Schluck Dry Vermouth and Spain’s Marnuthem Rosé Vermouth. 

Esquimalt Vermouth & Apéritifs’ Rosso is an herbaly and savoury wine-forward vermouth that has notes of cinnamon, cola, and gingerbread. Its Dry Vermouth has a fresh fruitiness to it, with crisp notes of stone fruit, apple, and elderflower.     

This win follows up Esquimalt Vermouth & Apéritifs’ previous success at last year's World Vermouth Awards where its Rosso Vermouth and Dry Vermouth both earned gold medals, while its Bianco Vermouth took home silver. The craft producer was the first non-European company to win the World’s Best distinction in the vermouth competition.  

The producer has also previously won awards at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Its Rosso Vermouth and its Dry Vermouth won double gold at the competition in 2021, alongside its Kina Rouge, which also took home double gold.  

Esquimalt Vermouth & Apéritifs is the brainchild of co-owners Quinn and Michela Palmer, who began making vermouth in 2018. Their love for vermouth blossomed while producing Rootside Bitters & Mixers—their bitters, syrups, and soda company that they founded in 2015.

Esquimalt Vermouth & Apéritifs aims to broaden the reach of vermouth, a wine-based beverage with a bitter taste. Its vermouths are made from mead, using British Columbian blueberry-blossom honey, and are finished off with wormwood and locally grown botanicals.