Paul in high spirits after double gold success for Defiance gin

A LEES-BASED distillery has defied the odds to produce the best gin in the world – that’s official!Paul Sheerin established his business and Defiance range less than two years ago.

But the previously award-winning products have now risen to new heights after success at the World Spirits competition in San Francisco.

Defiance’s Navy Strength premium gin secured double gold in the ‘unaged white spirit category’ and then went on to become acclaimed ‘best in show.’

About 3,000 brands entered the competition, from Australia to Peru and Panama to Japan. It has been held annually for two decades and is known as the spirits’ Olympics.

News of his victories was a welcome tonic for Paul as his successful business comes to terms with the implications of coronavirus on the hospitality and leisure sector.

“I could do this for the next 30 years and there is nothing above this for me,” Paul told the Independent.

“It is the top of the tree, the highest you can get. There are other competitions and we have been delighted to medal in two of them – the SIP awards and the International Wines and Spirit Competition.

“Everyone though tries to win this one. I would have been pleased with silver to give us more exposure for another year.

“This though is the one everyone talks about. You can see that by the amounts of brands entering.

“They are judged, all with blind tastings, by a highly respected industry panel.“And the San Francisco competition is more than 20 years old. It has not suddenly appeared overnight with the gin craze.

“The main thing for me now is to get our products overseas.

“This information will be administered across the world so maybe, just maybe, we will be able to attract some high-quality agencies to distribute in different countries and to get Defiance out there.”

Paul’s golden moments were delivered in a “matter of fact” email. H added: “I was shaking when I read it.

“I know in terms of coronavirus it might seem trivial. But to put into context how difficult these awards are to win, the last British companies to do so were Plymouth Gin in 2006 and Tanqueray in 2004.

“They are two enormous brands run by two enormous companies.”

In its category, Defiance was up against vodka, tequilla, white rum and Mescal products. Every judge deemed Navy Strength to be a gold winner and among the finest products in the world.

On the final day, select double gold spirits advanced to the sweepstakes round with Defiance determined to be a Best in Show Premium Award winners.

Despite challenging times Paul is still delivering Defiance products.

He has also initiated a ‘Shout out for the Heroes’ initiative via social media, awarding a free bottle of gin to the person nominated as a deserving case using the hashtag #bedefiant.

• To discover more about Defiance visit www.defiancegin.co.uk

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