Missouri Corn Calls On Craft Distilleries To Compete In Heartland Whiskey Competition
(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.)—The Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC) today announced its sponsorship of the Heartland Whiskey Competition and is inviting Missouri distilleries to vie for state bragging rights. Taking place Aug. 2 in St. Louis, Mo., the biennial national contest is sanctioned by the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) and strictly limited to craft whiskeys that contain some amount of corn as an ingredient.
Craft spirits is a fast-growing U.S. industry. The number of craft distillers has increased 54% since the inaugural competition in 2016, with whiskey as the most popular product. On average, it takes approximately 3 pounds of corn to make one bottle of spirits. At 56 pounds in a bushel, local distilleries can produce roughly 18 bottles of spirits for each bushel of corn. Most craft distilleries use corn mash sourced locally to make their product.
“While we often think about livestock and ethanol when it comes to field corn, this is a fun opportunity to highlight another of our crop’s many uses,” says MCMC Chairman Brent Hoerr of Palmyra. “This competition not only supports a niche market for our corn, but local distilleries who are crafting Missouri-grown, Missouri-made spirits.”
Competitions carry significant weight in the spirits industry, as award medals are often the reason a consumer purchases a product at retail. The most coveted awards are Best of State and Best of Show, which are limited to only those states sponsored by their respective corn associations. In addition, 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.
“Most craft distilleries source corn for their mash that is grown nearby, and that amount has grown considerably in recent years,” notes Margie A.S. Lehrman, chief executive officer with ACSA. “It’s exciting to add a new award for best farmer-distiller which recognizes the critical relationship of our two, overlapping industries.”
Sponsorship from the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council makes the state competition possible. ACSA will select judges from accomplished mixologists who have experience with craft spirits. The winning entries will be announced in September.
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