Expocachaça, recently wrapped up it's 2012 edition which was held from September 04 to 09 at São Paulo's magnificent Central Market, familiarly known as the Mercadão. Divided into sessions for trade professions and the general public, the exposition showcased more than 150 producers of cachaça, ranging from artisanal mom-and-pop distilleries to the large national and international brands.
Along with tasting lessons and sessions, lectures and demonstrations on how to mix drink with cachaça and how to use it in cooking, there was a juried selection of the best cachaças in four categories: white, aged in urubama (a native Brazilian wood), aged in oak or other wood, and Special Super Premium.
The most coveted awards are those in the Special Super Premium category, and this year there were three distilleries honored with gold-medals in this group. They were Cambraia Extra Premium, Porto Morretes and Weber Haus Extra Premium.
Cabraia Extra Premium is a product of Cachaça Cambraia from São Paulo state. The distillery was recently purchased by large national distiller Pirassununga, although it is still operated independently and produces only premium small-batch cachaças.
The other two gold medal winners were from Brazil's souther region, one from the state of Paraná and the other from Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil's southernmost state.
From Paraná comes Porto Morretes cachaça distilled in the small town of the same name, while Rio Grande do Sul boasts Weber Haus Extra Premium Cachaça from Cachaçaria Weber Haus, a distillery that has won prizes and trophies for its fine cachaças at shows and expositions around Brazil and internationally.
As it's only very recently that there has been international interest in cachaça, it's quite difficult to source artisanal cachaças outside Brazil, although the situation is slowly improving as the drink becomes more well-known and appreciated outside its native territory. A quick online check of international availability of the three gold medal winners shows that only Weber Haus has representation outside Brazil, specifically in Australia and in Europe.