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Vintage Czech whisky 'Hammer Head' scoops top award for SSG

Stock Spirits Group (SSG) is proud to announce that its unique 1989 vintage single malt whisky, Hammer Head, has won a Masters award at The Whiskeys of the World Masters. A second SSG brand, Limonce Amaro, also enjoyed success at the Masters by winning a Gold medal within the Herbs and Bitters category at the Liqueur Masters.

Hammer Head is a Czech single malt whisky with a colourful history. In 1989, the Pradlo Distillery in western Czechoslovakia - which had been producing high quality pot-still spirits for many years - installed a traditional cast iron hammer mill at great effort. The mill, which was made back in 1928 and was exactly the same type found in most traditional Scottish distilleries, allowed production of a single malt whisky to begin.

The whisky was produced using only Czech barley and the crisp clean water from the Bohemia region, whilst the oak casks were made of 100% Czech oak wood. When the Berlin Wall fell later in the same year, the whisky was forgotten, lying dormant in the cellars for over 20 years in its unique casks until it was recently discovered. In order to honour the hard work involved, SSG named the whisky after the nickname of the old mill which is so vital in the production of Hammer Head single malt whisky.

Meanwhile, Italian liqueur Limonce Amaro received a prestigious Gold medal at the Liqueur Masters despite only being launched in the Italian market in September 2010. The herbal bitter is made from more than 30 herbs, aromatic roots and flowers (including gentian, juniper, dittamo, angelica, china, cera, thyme and coriander) all of which are carefully selected and blended in the right proportions according to a unique recipe and to which lemon peel is added. This creates a fusion of herbal bitter and Limonce which is already proving a popular addition to SSG’s Limonce family.

In addition to its successes at The International Spirits Business Liqueur Masters and The Whiskeys of the World Masters, SSG is also proud to announce that three of its brands - Wódka Żołądkowa Gorzka, Stock Prestige vodka and the Lubelska range of flavoured spirits - have been ranked in the IWSR 25 fastest growing brands of 2010. Wódka Żołądkowa Gorzka was the 5th fastest growing vodka, whilst Stock Prestige was the 7th. The Lubelska range was the fastest growing flavoured spirits brand in the world in volume terms.

Commenting on this news, Chris Heath, Chief Executive Officer of Stock Spirits Group, said: "Hammer Head is not only a whisky of real quality, but it has a fascinating history which really brings the brand to life. We are obviously extremely pleased to see it receiving independent industry recognition. It is also great to see the continued success of the Limonce family as the latest addition to that range, Limonce Amaro, collected a gold award having only been launched in September of last year."

Heath added: "Following our success in the recent Millionaires rankings, to see three of our brands also in the IWSR top 25 fastest growing brands for 2010 is pleasing and reaffirms our long held view that consumers want quality at competitive prices."

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