27 December 2020
By Tom Collins
While this year has been challenging, Blacks, Ireland’s first co-located brewery & distillery, nevertheless received international awards.
The modern business is “located on the Wild Atlantic Way in Kinsale”. They are an industrial unit on the Cork side of the town. Blacks want to be the opposite of the mass market existing brands by producing beers with “passion, personality” and…”lots of hops”. Having just been announced as winners for two prestigious competitions – USA Spirit Ratings & the European Beer Challenge, Blacks are proving their mission complete.
A USA Spirit Ratings medal is the ultimate seal of approval in the global spirits industry. Blacks took home the coveted Gold medal for their Blacks Irish Gin, one of only two Irish gins to receive this accolade, and Silver for their Blacks Golden Rum at this renowned competition. The USA Spirits Ratings looks to recognise, reward and help promote spirit brands that have successfully been created to identify with and target a specific spirit drinker. These awards shine a spotlight on the spirit brands that consumers really want to buy and have a clear market value for trade buyers.
Spirits were judged in three categories; Quality, Value and Packaging. Only those spirits who scored consistently high across each of the three criteria were awarded medals. To receive Gold Blacks Irish Gin was awarded an impressive score of 90 – 100 points, with Blacks Golden Rum coming away with its Silver medal and 80 – 89 points.
Continuing this winning streak, Blacks, founded by husband and wife duo, Sam & Maudeline Black, were honoured to accept Double Gold at the European Beer Challenge for their innovative Maui Wowie High P.A. and also their World’s End Imperial Stout. This unstoppable pair also proudly accepted silver for their flagship beer, Kinsale Pale Ale (KPA).
The annual European Beer Challenge brings together Europe’s leading beer buyers and top beers from across the globe against the backdrop of the dynamic and strategically important EU & UK beer market. This year thousands of samples from 39 countries fought head-to-head, with Blacks coming out on top not once, but three times. During the European Beer Challenge judging session each product is subjected to a rigorous blind tasting process which allows newcomers to compete fairly against the world’s leading brands. This is the highest level of recognition in the industry – the Oscars of the Beer World.
Speaking with pride in relation to their award wins Blacks Brewery & Distillery Co-Founder, Sam Black (hence the name of the brand) commented, “This has been an amazing year for us at our Brewery & Distillery in Kinsale. While the global Covid19 pandemic threw a lot of challenges our way, the entire team rose to the test and we continued to produce exciting craft beers and spirits. To receive Double Gold, Gold and Silver medals for both our craft beers and spirits is recognition for the passion we have for our craft. It is a testament to the time and talent invested by all of our team in Kinsale, and to receive this acknowledgement on a global scale, especially when up against such long-standing and established brands it was just phenomenal.’
Fancy sampling Blacks Gold winning Irish Gin over this festive season? It is delicious served neat over ice, or as a tall drink with a premium mixer, but if you like your spirits shaken not stirred why not try this Blacks’ signature Gin cocktail:
Blacks Sour Sailor
60ml Blacks Irish Gin
- 30 ml Fresh Grapefruit Juice
- 15ml Fresh Lemon Juice
- 10ml Simple Sugar Syrup (This can be easily made a t home by mixing sugar with water – 1:1 ratio Sugar : Water)
- 1/2 Egg White
- Dash of Angostura Bitters
- Add all your ingredients, except the bitters, into a cocktail shaker
- Dry shake all ingredients for 10 seconds
- Add ice and shake again for a further 10 seconds
- Fine strain into a chilled martini glass
- Add a dash of Angostura Bitters
- Sip & enjoy