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Highlights from the 2020 Australian Drinks Awards

July 30, 2020
By Alana House

Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate the 2020 Australian Drinks Awards via Zoom on July 30.

The Drinks Association was thrilled to share the winner announcements with the drinks industry.

Host Shelly Horton opened the live streamed event by noting that instead of working the room, she was “feeling the love in the Zoom”.

She also acknowledged the traditional custodians of the land she was standing on, the Gadigal people of the Eora nations and extended her acknowledgement to all traditional custodians of the lands on which everyone watching the event was located.

“I would like to pay my respects to elders; past, present and emerging,” Horton said.

Horton also kept her cool – and sense of humour – when the broadcast experienced a slight technical hitch and paused for a few minutes to allow more participants to join … giving those already watching the chance to pour themselves a drink.

2020 Australian Drinks Awards

Horton then invited the audience to sit back with their favourite beverage and enjoy the show.

Kicking off the official proceedings, Drinks Association CEO Georgia Lennon noted: “Thinking back to the 2019 Australian Drinks Awards at Doltone House in Sydney, none of us could have foreseen the year that was to come.

“Our daily comings and goings and the very ways that we interact, do business, socialise and celebrate together have been entirely disrupted. So, you can imagine how delighted we are to be able to host this event virtually and I thank everyone for joining us.”


Drinks Association Chair Ralph Dunning then thanked the Board and the Drinks Association’s Corporate and Commercial Partners for their contributions, adding: “I am so thoroughly impressed by the efforts being demonstrated by our great industry during this time.”

2020 Australian Drinks Awards

John McLoughlin, Managing Director APAC at the Advantage Group, which conducted the Engagement Survey that determines the winners of the Supplier Category at the Australian Drinks Awards, said: “I want thank all of our retail partners for taking the time to provide feedback to the supplier community.

“We carried out our research mid crisis this year and still our retailer partners, as did our suppliers, prioritised our work in an incredibly disrupted environment to ensure we got the response we needed for our program.”

Horton gave a shout out to William Grant & Son’s Peter Syson for being the best dressed viewer in his stylish tux.

And then it was time for the big moment, the announcement of the four winners. It was wonderful to see so many people cheering for the winners on Zoom.

The trophies went to:

Category Management Award – Diageo

Supply Chain Management Award – Treasury Wine Estates

Most Improved Supplier of the Year – Asahi

Supplier of the Year – Diageo

After announcing the final trophy, Horton admitted: “I remember going to a Diageo event for Johnny Walker Platinum a few years ago and they’d flown out a very proper Scottish whiskey sommelier for the event.  After a few drinks I admitted to him that I like my Johnny Walker Platinum with Pepsi Max.  He simply leaned over and said ‘Madame as long as you’re drinking Johnny Walker, and not Chivas Regal, I don’t mind what you mix it with’.”

2020 Australian Drinks Awards

Concluding the event, Horton said: “Thank you to all of you who tuned in from your offices or homes to celebrate excellence.  I hope you can now kick back and continue your celebrations.”

Click here to watch a video of the full ceremony.

Georgia Lennon, Ralph Dunning & John McLoughlin raise a glass to the Australian drinks industry