Middle West Spirits of Columbus, Ohio, captured Best of Show for its OYO Sherry-Finished Bourbon at the 2019 Heartland Whiskey Competition in June.
The American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) recently announced the complete list of winners for the competition, which was open to craft whiskeys from all 50 states that incorporate corn in their mash bill. In this second, biannual blind judging event, whiskeys from 13 “heartland” states also competed for Best of State, and all entries competed in their select whiskey sub-categories.
The competition, which was generously sponsored by state corn marketing associations, took place June 4 at CH Distillery in Chicago. “We are deeply appreciative of the state corn marketing associations for their investment and continued commitment to help craft spirits producers promote and grow their products,” stated Margie A.S. Lehrman, CEO of ACSA.
ACSA facilitated the judging process with Board of Directors President Chris Montana—owner of Du Nord Craft Spirits in Minneapolis—who served as the Judging Director. Judges were selected by ACSA for their knowledge and experience specific to craft spirits.
The 2019 competition saw significant growth in the number of participating states and entries with tougher competition for medals. Only five whiskeys were awarded a gold medal, while 40 received silver, and 22 bronze. “Several of the craft distilleries are also working farms that use the grain they grow to make their spirits so they are deeply committed to their product,” stated Don Duvall, Chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board. “On behalf of all the participating corn associations I want to express our great respect and admiration as well as our continued support. While this is a challenging year for farming, we are pleased to see an important customer group grow and prosper.”
For purposes of this competition, all whiskey sub-categories required entries to include some amount of corn as an ingredient.
2019 Heartland Whiskey Competition Category Winners
Blended: Crooked Furrow Harvest Blend, Proof Artisan Distillers
Bottled in Bond: A.D Law’s Four Grain Straight Bourbon, Law’s Whiskey House
Bourbon (Tie): OYO Sherry-Finished Bourbon, Middle West Spirits; and Starlight Distillery Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey, Huber’s Starlight Distillery
Corn Whiskey: Boot Hill Distillery Moonshine, Boot Hill Distillery
Four Grain: Middle West Spirits Straight Wheated Bourbon, Middle West Spirits
Rye: Driftless Glen 51 Rye, Driftless Glen Distillery
Straight: 100% Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Grand Traverse Distillery
2019 Heartland Whiskey Competition Best of State
Colorado: A.D Law’s Four Grain Straight Bourbon, Law’s Whiskey House
Illinois: Whiskey Acres Straight Rye, Whiskey Acres Distilling
Indiana: Starlight Distillery Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey, Huber’s Starlight Distillery
Iowa: Steeple Ridge Bourbon, Lonely Oak Distillery
Kansas: Boot Hill Distillery Moonshine, Boot Hill Distillery
Kentucky: Linkumpinch Bourbon, Dueling Grounds Distillery
Michigan: 100% Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Grand Traverse Distillery
Minnesota: BødalenBourbon, Far North Spirits
Missouri: Bourbon Rubenesque, Wood Hat Spirits
North Dakota: Crooked Furrow, Proof Artisan Distillers
Ohio: OYO Sherry-finished Bourbon, Middle West Spirits
Texas: True Blue 100 Proof, Balcones Distilling
Wisconsin: Driftless Glen 51 Rye, Driftless Glen Distillery