Emerging Talent in Spirits 2023 shortlist

IWSC news

Wed 15 Feb 2023

The IWSC’s 2023 Emerging Talent in Spirits Trophy is sponsored by Whyte & Mackay.

Entries for our 2023 Emerging Talent in Spirits award came from all over the world, from Argentina to Australia, Poland to Hong Kong. This category is open to anyone starting out in the spirits industry and who does not fall into the Spirits Communicator or Bartending categories.

Entrants were encouraged to share their CV alongside their application and for the first time this year, an optional video was also included in the entry process. The judging panel consisted of Kieran Healey Ryder and Gregg Glass from our Sponsor, Whyte & Mackay, Paul Rutasikwa co-founder of Matugga Distillers, Our Whisky founder and IWSC judge Becky Paskin, last year’s winner, Hemil Haria and Sam Cooklin-Smith from the IWSC. Our judges were on the lookout for entrants who exhibited real passion, and showcased a flavour of what they were looking toward for the future.

The 2023 shortlist for the IWSC’s Emerging Talent in Spirits is:


Allison Crawbuck

After several years working in the on-trade during which time she developed a real love for Absinthe, in 2020, Allison and her partner took a leap of faith and opened London’s very first absinthe distillery, Devil’s Botany. Determined to unveil the mystery surrounding Absinthe, Allison works hard to improve consumer understanding through various events and her social channels. So dedicated is she to sharing the joy of her favourite spirits, that Allison would use the educational bursary prize money to organise a programme of consumer and trade absinthe masterclasses, workshops and celebrating absinthe across the UK.


Fiona King

Following several years working front of house, four years ago Fiona made the move to a role in Marketing and is currently Head of Marketing for The Spirit of Manchester Distillery, which launched its first ever whisky - One Point Six English Whisky – in 2022. Fiona was involved from the very start of the project, briefing the branding agency, and working with them on the concept and naming of the whiskey through to its launch in July. Her success was recently recognised at the Made in Manchester Awards where she received the award for Marketing Professional of the Year.


Lois Gauthier

Another founder of a new distillery, Lois launched Distillerie de l’Ort in 2021 after four years at Warner’s Distillery following the completion of his Master Brewing and Distilling degree at Edinburgh’s Heriot Watt University. As well as distilling spirits, Lois is passionate about sharing his knowledge – he has a blog – providing information and tips to spirits lovers and other distillers and he has also launched a festival (La distillerie fait son festival) at his distillery.


Marcin Czajkiewicz

Another partnership creating great things, together with his wife Marcin founded Good Gin Company. Their first brand, and one of Poland’s first craft gin brands – Heritage Magnolia Gin – has been distilled by Marcin’s wife.  While his wife is busy creating the liquid, it is Marcin’s role to look after the sales, marketing, finance and logistics. In Heritage Magnolia Gin’s first year, it sold over 4,000 bottles and is available in almost 300 stores across 50 cities, making it one of the fastest growing craft spirits in Poland.


Matias Luciani

Through his own determination, Matias has worked hard and is able to claim to be the only person in Argentina to have the WSET Level 2 and 3 qualifications in spirits. Strict limitations and a closed spirits economy in Argentina make it incredibly hard to share information about spirits and so Matias founded his own club, Rosario Whisky Club. Through various social medial channels, Matias shares his knowledge and hosts tasting events.


Nicole Durdin

Following a career in the police service and as a professional musician, in 2018 Nicole together with her husband Jon, founded Seppeltsfield Road Distillers. As the company’s Head Distiller, last year Nicole was awarded 99 points for the Seppeltsfield Road Distillers Shiraz Gin and 98 points for the Musician’s Cut by the IWSC. This year Seppeltsfield Road Distillers will be launching it’s first brandy which Nicole hopes will be as successful as their gins in adding to the awards haul. In four short years Seppeltsfield Rd Distillers has developed a gin portfolio that has received more than 70 accolades and awards.


Congratulations to our shortlisted entrants. The winner for the IWSC’s 2023 Emerging Talent in Spirits Trophy will be announced on Wednesday 22 February.