'I'm sure he'd be very proud' - Son of late publican Oliver Hughes 'shocked' as Dingle Original Gin crowned 'world's best'
An Irish-produced gin has been crowned the best in the world at a prestigious awards ceremony in London.
Dingle Original Gin pipped more than 400 gins from around the world to scoop the top accolade at the World Gin Awards on Thursday night.
Elliott Hughes, a partner at Dingle Original Gin and son of the late publican Oliver Hughes, said "this is an incredibly proud moment".
The 25-year-old followed in the footsteps of his father by graduating with a law degree and then moving into the brewing business.
"We didn't expect to win the overall prize so it was a real shock, but yeah, nice one," Mr Hughes told Independent.ie.
"I'm sure my dad would be very proud. The Dingle Original Gin hasn't changed since it launched in 2012 and is the same recipe that my dad, Liam and Peter put together seven years ago."
The drink, which is produced in The Dingle Whiskey Distillery outside the Kerry town of the same name, also claimed the top award in the London Dry Gin category.
"I've been getting lots of phonecalls and texts. I think everyone in Ireland knows Dingle Gin but now this award will help it gain a bit more credibility around the world, especially with people in the United States and further afield."
Mr Hughes, from Fairview, Dublin, started to work with the Porterhouse Brewing Company immediately after he left Dublin City University, where he graduated with an honours degree in law.
"I worked in the family business through school and college and I've always been involved in some respect. Me and my sister are buzzing today, it's a nice vindication for the hard work.
"We had a couple of pints on Thursday night in the Porterhouse in London to celebrate and I'm sure we'll be having a few gin and tonics this evening," he added.
His father, Oliver Hughes, who died in July 2016 at the age of 57, is founder of the Porterhouse pub chain and is credited with introducing "craft beer" to Ireland along with his cousin and long-term business partner Liam LaHart.
They also founded the Dingle Whiskey Distillery in Co Kerry, which was the first purpose-built distillery to open in Ireland in two centuries.
According to figures by the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (AFBI), the Irish gin market is seeing an explosion of producers with more than 50 brands and 20 gin producers launching in recent years.
Some 12 new brands launched last year.
Dingle Gin says it was one of only two gins being produced in Ireland when it started in 2012.
"Hopefully a few people can try some Dingle Original gin this weekend," Mr Hughes said.