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BEHIND THE COUNTER – Hillbilly Cider Shines at 2023 Australian Cider Awards

Nov 1, 2023

Local Business Feature

It was a night of triumph and celebration for Hillbilly Cider, as they clinched two prestigious awards at the 2023 annual Australian Cider Awards held in Melbourne.  The family-owned business, founded in 2012 by Shane and Tessa McLaughlin, is no stranger to recognition, having made its mark by crafting all-natural ciders without added sugar or artificial flavours.

The 2023 Australian Cider Awards, featuring 219 local and international ciders, was a highly competitive event. The spotlight fell on Hillbilly Cider as their flagship crushed apple cider secured the prestigious title of “Best New World Cider.” This victory was particularly sweet given the intense competition in this international category.

Tessa and Shane McLaughlin accepting their award

The good news didn’t end there for Hillbilly. Their dedication to the craft was further validated with a second trophy, this time for “Most Successful Larger Cider Producer.” 

This year’s judging panel, led by chair Briony Liebich of Flavour Logic Consultancy and featuring international judge Darlene Hayes from the United States, tasted and evaluated the ciders. 

Shane McLaughlin, one of the proud owners, commented on their success, saying, “We’re thrilled to be awarded two such prestigious trophies, especially as ‘Best New World Cider.’ It’s the result of over a decade of hard work.” Tessa McLaughlin, his wife and co-owner, echoed the sentiment, saying, “With so many fantastic ciders in Australia, we’re honoured to stand out as the most successful larger producer.”

The awards night also provided insights into the global cider market, with Darlene Hayes praising the Australian competition and pledging to share her learnings with events in the United States. Cider Australia recognized Max Allen, an author and cider commentator, with the “Champion of the Industry” award for his lasting contributions to the cider industry.

Don’t miss the chance to experience Hillbilly Cider for yourself. Their Bilpin-based cider shed, nestled in the heart of Hawkesbury, is open to visitors. It offers a range of ciders, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, as well as mouth-watering wood-fired Napoli style pizzas. Whether you’re in the Hawkesbury, Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane, you can find Hillbilly Cider in local independent bottle shops, bars, and restaurants.

For more information and to plan your visit, you can check out Hillbilly Cider’s website at


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