Old Young’s wins two of the most coveted awards at The Icons of Gin

James Young, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Old Young’s

For the first time in Australia’s history, a small craft distillery has won two of the world’s most coveted gin awards – both on the same night. Swan Valley distillery, Old Young’s, has just been awarded Craft Producer of the Year and Brand Innovator of the Year at The Icons of Gin competition – one of the most prestigious competitions for gin across the globe.

This is the first time an Australian distillery has ever won Craft Producer of the Year, and only the second time an Australian distiller has won Brand Innovator of the year – Four Pillars winning the category in 2022. Making this double win even sweeter is the distillery’s age – Old Young’s was only established in 2016, after James Young took over a mothballed distillery set up in a 36m2 hotbox tin shed and promised to one day make the world’s best gin.

What do the award wins mean for Old Young’s?

It was this determination that saw him win back-to-back champion titles at the Australian Distilled Spirit Awards in 2017 and 2018 – a feat that has only been achieved once since. The timing of this recognition couldn’t be more perfect for James Young, who launched a share offer last week so Aussie craft spirits lovers could become part-owners in his business.

The crowdfunding will be managed by Birchal, and the money raised will be used to fast track expansion plans and plan what James describes as a ‘Cathedral of Gin’. “Winning just one trophy at The Icon of Gin Awards would be a career bucket list item – but two, WOW! When you look at the past winners, it’s a who’s who of the most respected brands, selling in dozens of countries, and selling hundreds of thousands of bottles a year,” James Young said.

“Brands like Adnams in the UK, Citadelle from France, Australia’s Four Pillars, Kyoto gin from Japan, Audemus from France, and The UK’s Warner’s Distillery. It’s humbling to now be mentioned in the same sentence. Central to winning this award is our signature gin, Old Young’s 1829 Gin – I’m like a proud father whose child has just won an Oscar!” James said.

“The gin’s base is Tuscan juniper berries, with the Swan Valley and surrounds offering some of the finest botanicals I’ve seen. which give 1829 its balance between bright citrus characters and savoury spice. Winning Brand Innovator of the year is equally important – when the pandemic hit, I launched Aussies’ most unique gin subscription service, The Juniper Society.”

“It’s like Netflix – but Gin! Each month you get a brand new, never to be repeated gin delivered to your door for $59! We’ve released 30 editions so far, and these allow my creative side to run wild – it’s the reason why I believe I have the best job in the world.”

“Most other distillers pump out the same gin day in day out – not us. When it comes to innovation and crafting exceptional gins with a difference – we are match fit!”

How will Old Young’s utilize the crowdfund raise?

The share offer follows a booming time for Old Young’s, which has achieved an Average Growth of 90% per annum over the last 6 years since 2016 ($5.3m revenue in 2022 with 71,835 bottles filled, and $14.9m turnover since launch – that’s 270,000 bottles filled).

The capital raised through the crowdfund will be used to employ an east coast sales team to help infiltrate leading bars and bottle shops, as well as building international export markets. Old Young’s will also triple production capacity by bringing online a 500L next generation still, as well as an automatic bottling line that can handle over 250,000 bottles per year.

Also, The Juniper Society’s monthly subscription service will be aiming to supercharge its database of members to 10,000 gin lovers per month. This alone will have a huge impact on the company’s bottom line. And finally James is planning to build a monumental building in the Swan Valley he describes as a ‘Cathedral of Gin’. He is working with some of the Australia’s and the world’s top architectural firms, whose designs will compete to win the project.

And all of that doesn’t even take into consideration the huge potential for his other gin project, Gingin Gin: a modern classic gin with ingredients sourced from the Western Australian town, Gingin. The gin is made using the finest sourced ingredients from Gingin’s abundant food bowl and botanicals from the Mediterranean and exotics from the Far East.

James also has plans for RTD’s, bottled cocktails, a non-alc product, brown spirit production, a new tasting room experience and a brand refresh. Phew! “Not long ago we were spit-balling a catchy phrase to help draw in potential investors – ‘become part-owner in the world’s best gin distillery’. At the time this was just a throw away line. Never in our wildest dreams could we imagine this would happen so soon!” James Young concluded.