Female-led Big Tree Distillery in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges has won a Double Gold medal for its Claude Navy Strength and a Bronze medal for its Elegant Dry Gin at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

The distillery run by Catherine Crothers and husband Gary Jago, only produced its first commercial batch in June 2018. The competition weekend in San Francisco saw Big Tree Distillery up against more than 3000 gins from all around the world and many Australian-made gins. San Francisco World Spirits Competition was founded in 2000 and is one of the oldest competitions of its kind. This year the competition saw the largest number of entries in its 19-year history. Gin-loving couple Catherine and Gary decided to set up the distillery after feeling fed up with corporate life and inspired for change. It took five years of planning, construction and experimenting. “This makes all the hard work worthwhile. It has been an amazing journey; the craft distilling industry is made up of many incredible people who have reached out to us and been very helpful,” says Catherine.

The Claude Navy Strength is one of five small-batch gins in production at Big Tree and is made using an Australian botanical, Southern Sassafras and a touch of bay leaf. In February, Claude Navy Strength gin also won a bronze medal at the annual Australian Gin Awards in Sydney. Big Tree’s labels feature artwork by local artist Sarah Gabriel, who captures the beauty of the Australian environment through her floral and wildlife emblems. Due to the elegance of the design, these bottles can be reused and kept on display in the home.

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