We should all be raising a glass to Rotorua-based Copperhead Road Distillery after it received another international award.

The distillery's Pure Heart Vodka has been awarded a gold in the vodka category of New Zealand Spirit Awards, equal with their French counterpart Grey Goose.

Chief distiller Rod Roos said the award meant "a hell of a lot".

"Particularly as it's a New Zealand-based competition."

Advertisement

Pure Heart is no stranger to awards, having already gained two international golds as well as Vodka of the Year in New York and the Distillery of the Year in Melbourne.

Roos said he entered the overseas competitions to see how his vodka stood internationally.

Copperhead Road Distillery winning Pure Heart Vodka. Photo / Supplied
Copperhead Road Distillery winning Pure Heart Vodka. Photo / Supplied

"We didn't have any outlets in New Zealand or Australia at the time but winning one here where we have bottles on the shelf makes a hell of a lot of difference to us."

Roos said 17 judges from around the world picked the vodka out of a blind tasting test.

The inaugural awards, hosted by industry bodies Spirits New Zealand and Distilled Spirits Aotearoa, received 254 entries from both local and international distilleries.

And it was New Zealanders who had their fair share of the prizes after 90 of the 221 bronze, silver, gold and double gold medals were awarded to New Zealand distilleries.

Chief executive of Spirits New Zealand Robert Brewer said the New Zealand Spirits Awards exceeded expectations in its first year.

"We would have been very happy to get 100 entries into the awards but 254 entries is truly amazing in its inaugural year."

Advertisement

Distilled Spirits Aotearoa chairwoman Sue James said the number of entries was a solid indication of the growing strength of the New Zealand spirits industry.

"Less than 10 years ago, there would have been less than 20 distilleries in New Zealand."