Champion distiller Starward enjoying USA sales boost

Starward celebrates its San Francisco accolades

Starward Whisky has experienced a spike in sales in North America off the back of its remarkable medal haul at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC), according to founder David Vitale.

Vitale – who relocated to Seattle in 2018 – told the Drinks Adventures podcast in May that Starward has on-the-ground representation in 15 different US states.

“But we can ship to 40 different markets [in the US],” he said.


“My sense is, the gap between where we can ship and where we’ll have feet on the street is going to narrow very quickly off the back of these awards.

“We’ve had a big bump in sales this month that’s just passed and I think it’s going to continue.”

Starward was subsequently confirmed as the SFWSC’s Most Awarded Distillery of the Year in a June ceremony, having won 12 Double Gold and 3 Gold medals in April.

‘Same old Starward’

Vitale said the accolades are overdue recognition for the consistent quality of Starward’s whiskies, rather than the results of any substantial improvement.

“It’s not older inventory that’s delivering this result,” he said.

“It’s just the same old Starward, matured anywhere between three and four Melbourne years.

“Beyond four, frankly, I think they get a little long in the tooth.”

Starward Nova
‘Same old Starward’: Nova won Double Gold in 2015 and 2022 in San Francisco

Vitale said Starward won Double Gold in San Francisco for its Nova Single Malt Whisky in 2015, and the formulation of that expression is fundamentally the same.

But he said the whisky entered into the 2022 SFWSC is all from the Port Melbourne site, which Starward commissioned in 2018, coinciding with his debut appearance on Drinks Adventures.

“At that point in time, we were going from three runs a day producing roughly 400 litres of spirit, to three runs a day, producing roughly 2,000 litres of spirits,” he said.

“It was a big step up. Just maintaining the quality we had beforehand is an amazing feat.

“When we win awards like this, we can keep shipping the same product month in and month out, which is pretty exciting.”

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