MINNEAPOLIS, MN (February 12, 2019) – Last night, the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA), the nation’s only national registered non-profit trade association representing the U.S. craft spirits industry, announced the winners of its Sixth Annual Judging of Craft Spirits, who were honored during the Awards Dinner as part of the Sixth Annual ACSA Distillers Convention and Vendor Trade Show at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis, Minn. Medalists were hand-selected among a pool of nearly 500 entrants.
During the event, which was sponsored by Total Wine & More, ACSA proudly bestowed the evening’s ultimate honor, the Best of Show Award, to Gulch Distillers of Helena, MT, for their Burrone Fernet. Eli Aguilera, Total Wine’s Senior Vice-President of Merchandising, provided remarks to the crowd to kick-off the dinner, and Maggie Campbell of Privateer Rum (MA) emceed the event, having served as the Judging Chair.
The annual Awards marked the official opening day of the 2019 ACSA Distillers Convention and Vendor Trade Show, which attracted nearly 1,000 producers and suppliers from across the U.S. for two full days of immersive educational seminars and networking events.
This year, entries were submitted from 38 states and the District of Columbia across the country in six main categories: Whiskey, Gin, Rum, Vodka & Grain Spirits, Brandy, and Specialty Spirits. In addition to a Best of Show and the Best of Class Distinctions, the judging panel awarded 8 Gold, 68 Silver, and 171 Bronze medals.
The 2019 Best in Class distinctions, the highest honor in each of the six judging categories, were awarded to a mix of both established, award-winning distilleries and younger newcomers. These winning distilleries were each presented with hand-carved barrelheads courtesy of Thousand Oaks Barrel Co, and all medal recipients received custom medals generously provided by Apholos. The Best of Show recipient, Gulch Distillers, was also awarded with a custom snowboard from Gilson Snowboard & Ski Co., whose Founder and CEO Nick Gilson served as the convention’s keynote speaker earlier in the day.
This year, ACSA also introduced a new award category: the Innovation Award. The new “Innovation” category aims to recognize remarkable spirits whose flavor profiles may stray from their category’s signature notes.