New Florence Distillery Tops Whiskey Competition
(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.)–Wood Hat Spirits of New Florence took top honors with their Queens Reserve at the Heartland Whiskey Competition held in St. Louis, Mo., earlier this summer. The distillery’s ‘cornfield to glass’ creation was named Missouri’s top craft whiskey in a blind judging competition, sponsored in part by the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC), which drew entries from 20 states.
The day-long competition, supervised by the American Craft Spirits Association, required judges to evaluate each spirit within its appropriate category (bourbon, corn whiskey, etc.). Top state medals were awarded to those achieving the highest scores in their respective states, regardless of category.
“Heartland Whiskey Competition thanks the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council and the other state corn groups for supporting craft distillers,” stated Scott Kirkpatrick, director of The Heartland Whiskey Competition. “Craft spirit products are made from grain, largely from the states in which they distill, and many craft distillers are owned by farmers, including multiple winners from this year’s competition.”
The competition was limited to spirits that use corn as an ingredient in the distillation process. Through entering, competing, and medaling, craft distilleries earn awards that allow them to better market their products. The 2023 competition also introduced a new category: Top Farmer-Distiller. This award is given to the highest-scoring product among all entries produced by a distillery whose owner actively farms. More than 30 percent of all 2023 entries were from farmer-distillers.
“This competition is a great opportunity to showcase the versatility of our nation’s top crop,” notes MCMC Chairman Matt Lambert of Laclede. “While most people think of livestock feed and ethanol when it comes to field corn, it also has thousands of everyday uses. MCMC is proud to support Missouri’s distilleries and a value-added use for the corn grown right here at home.”
On average, it takes approximately three 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. A complete list of winners and sponsoring corn states can be found on the ACSA website.
The Missouri Corn Merchandising Council is an organization of corn growers dedicated to developing and expanding corn markets, educating growers and customers, and exploring new research opportunities. Learn more about the many uses of field corn at www.mocorn.org.
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.
Wood Hat Spirits takes pride in using locally grown grains, fruit, and nuts to produce award-winning bourbons, corn whiskeys, and cordials and is certified as a true Craft Distillery by the American Distilling Institute. Wood Hat Spirits provides a true “Field to Glass” experience where spirits are fermented, distilled, and aged onsite using the only woodfired still in the country.
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