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American Distilling Institute Artisan Spirits Awards Results

on 03/04/13 at 9:59 am


a1Judging Specifics from Judging Director, Drew Faulkner

On March 4-5, 2013, ADI judged 317 artisan American spirits at Huber Orchard and Winery in Starlight, Indiana: 127 whiskies, 66 gins, 36 moonshines, 47 rums and 41 fruit spirits were submitted from 124 independently-owned, small-batch, distilled spirits producers. Judges awarded 23 gold, 44 silver and 46 bronze medals, again upholding the highest standards by awarding medals to only 37% of participants.

Judging Director Andrew Faulkner and Research Director Nancy Fraley began sorting boxes and cataloguing entries on Wednesday, February 27. The backroom team swelled to 9 staff members and volunteers by Monday. Bottles were photographed and divided into 22 categories (below) depending on the source fruit or grain, the amount of aging and whether or not they were distilled entirely by the producer. Each category was judged separately for products that were produced at one facility and products incorporating spirits produced at multiple facilities. Spirits from artisan merchant bottlers were judged separately from those craft distilled.

Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded based on the judges consideration of the spirit’s merits, and not on their numerical scores. Best of categories were awarded to the medal-worthy spirits that scored numerically better than other spirits in the same category. The tasting was totally blind and evaluated in terms of Nose, Palate, Finish and Balance. Judges were not allowed to see bottles or know what spirits were submitted until all judging was complete.

Five panels of four judges each evaluated the spirits. One panel evaluated only whiskies and one evaluated only gins. The other two panels divided their time between Rums, brandies, moonshines and whiskies. Judges listed here. A special VIP bourbon panel convened one day to evaluate corn whiskey and bourbon. This panel was comprised of Peggy Noe Stevens, founding member of Bourbon Women, Harlen Wheatley of Buffalo Trace, David Scheurich retired general manager of the Woodford Reserve Distillery, Richard Wolf Spirits Consultant, Don Coffey of MGPI. American Distilling Institute 7th Annual Judging of Artisan American Spirits Awards List

American Distilling Institute 7th Annual Judging of Artisan American Spirits

Awards List



Ballast Point Spirits – Devil’s Share Malt Whiskey


Valentine Distilling Co. – Liberator Gin


Balcones Distilling – Texas Rum


Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine – Apple Pie Moonshine BRANDY

Jepson Vineyards – Old Stock Mendocino Brandy

Excellence in Packaging – Craft Distilled Spirits

Sidetrack Distillery – Cassis Liqueur

Excellence in Packaging – Merchant Bottled Spirits

35 Maple Street – Kirk and Sweeney