Craft distilleries in Kentucky will once again compete for top honors at a national whiskey tasting competition sponsored by Kentucky Corn Promotion Council. The 2023 Heartland Whiskey Competition is the fourth competition sponsored by state corn marketing associations. Craft spirits is a fast-growing U.S. industry – the number of craft distillers has increased 54% since the inaugural competition in 2016 — and whiskey is its most popular product. Most distilleries that produce craft products are family-owned and rely on farmers for a reliable supply of corn to make the mash from which spirits are distilled.
This August in St. Louis, the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) will conduct the 2023 Heartland Whiskey Competition to judge multiple whiskey categories and award a “best of state” trophy to the top-rated whiskey from each sponsored state. Competition is limited to whiskeys that utilize some corn, which is almost all U.S. craft whiskey.
The 2023 competition will for the first time award a trophy for Top Farmer-Distiller, the top scoring whiskey produced by a distillery whose owner(s) operates a working farm.
Sponsorship from KyCorn makes the state competition possible by providing funds for the competition. The two-day blind judging event will award medals in multiple whiskey categories (e.g., rye, bourbon, bottled in bond). The most coveted medals are for Best of State, the best scoring whiskey across all categories. A Best of Show trophy is also awarded.
The awards are important for distillers to attract the interest of customers and also distributors who legally market and sell spirits to retailers. In previous competitions, Kentucky craft distillers have fared well, earning several medals against a national pool of competitors. The competition will take place August 2nd and winners will be announced in September.
About American Craft Spirits Association
The American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) is the only registered non-profit trade association representing the U.S. craft spirits industry. Its mission is to elevate and advocate for the community of craft spirits producers, and membership in ACSA is open to anyone.
ACSA is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the eligible voting members of the Association. Voting members must be independent licensed distillers (DSPs) annually removing fewer than 750,000 proof gallons from bond (the amount on which a Federal Excise Tax is paid.)