ACSA Announces 2024 Craft Spirits Tasting & Packaging Awards Medalists


Denver, CO (February 27, 2024) – Today, 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 10th Annual Judging of American Craft Spirits and 4th Annual Packaging Awards. Medalists were honored in person at ACSA’s 11th Annual Distillers’ Convention and Vendor Trade Show in Denver.

During an awards luncheon held at the Convention, ACSA proudly bestowed the blind-tasting competition’s ultimate honor, the Best in Show award, to Garrison Brothers Distillery for its Cowboy Bourbon. In addition to Best in Show and the Best of Class distinctions, the judging panel awarded 55 gold, 107 silver, and 92 bronze medals. 

The 4th Annual Packaging Awards awarded 27 medals, and Botanery Barn Distillery captured Best in Show for its Revivalist Garden Gin.

In the Judging of American Craft Spirits, awards entries were submitted in seven main categories: whiskey, gin, rum, vodka & grain spirits, brandy, distilled specialty spirits, and ready to drink (RTD). The Best of Class distinctions, the highest honor in each of the seven judging categories, were awarded to a mix of both established, award-winning distilleries and younger newcomers. These winning distilleries will be presented with hand-carved barrel heads courtesy of Thousand Oaks Barrel Co., and all medal recipients will receive custom medals.

ACSA would like to thank its Judging of American Craft Spirits competition partners, which include Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse, LibDib and Sojourner Imports. ACSA would also like to thank the Glass Packaging Institute for sponsoring the Craft Spirits Packaging Awards.

CRAFT SPIRITS magazine, ACSA’s bi-monthly digital publication, will showcase the top medalists from each competition in an upcoming issue. The complete list of medalists in the Judging of American Craft Spirits is available here and the complete list of medalists from the Craft Spirits Packaging Awards is available here.

10th Annual Judging of American Craft Spirits – Best of Class Recipients

Whiskey: Cowboy Bourbon, Garrison Brothers Distillery (TX)

Brandy: Chi Rho Peach Brandy, Salvation Spirits Distillery (TX)

Gin: Gin with Notes of Lavender and Hibiscus, Fraser Valley Distilling (CO)

RTD: Teller Classic Hard Tea, Safe House Distilling Co. (NM)

Rum: 5 Year Expedition Rum, StilL 630 (MO)

Distilled Spirits Specialty: Absinthe Verte, As Above, So Below Distillery (NM)

Vodka: Potato Vodka, 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Co. (CO)

Innovation Award: Warming Hut, Hinterhaus Distilling (CA)

4th Annual Packaging Awards Gold Medal Winners

Portfolio: Greenhouse Spirits (TX)

Whiskey: Dragon’s Milk Origin Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey; New Holland Distilling Co. (MI)

Brandy: 10th Mountain Brandy; 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Co (CO)

Gin: Lighthouse Gin; Lighthouse Distillery/Foley Family Wine (CA)

Gin: Mr. Pickles Pacific Northwest Gin; Wolf Spirit Distillery (OR)

Gin: Revivalist Garden Gin; Botanery Barn Distillery (PA)

RTD: Milk Can Moonshine Strubarb Pie; Backwards Distilling Co. (WY)

Rum: 504 Coffee; Happy Raptor Distilling (LA)

Distilled Spirits Specialty: Pastis 12/12 (Marseille, France)

Vodka: North Grove Vodka; Hinterhaus Distilling (CA)

2024 Craft Spirits Judging – Methodology

The 10th Annual American Craft Spirits Competition was judged in January at Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse in Denver. Colton Weinstein and Jeff Wuslich served as Judging Co-Chairs. Scores were submitted, tallied, and averaged, creating a competition based purely on numerical scoring rather than typical collaborative discussions. Once again, the judges encompassed a diverse range of spirits experts within the industry.

Spirits were judged by a panel of judges including Nicole Shriner, Kristen Wemer, Jason Zeno, Meredith Ann Barry, Chris LeBeau, Martin Cate, Chris Schmid, Steffani Scheurich, Stephen Beal, Chad Michael George, Hoby Wedler, Denaya Jones-Reid, Jonathan Morse, Phillip Morgan, Caley Shoemaker, Dwayne Bershaw, Brian Smith, Charlie Hoxmeier, Nicole Austin, Lisa Wicker, Justin Vallandingham, Jakim Noske and Matthew Scherff.

ACSA works rigorously to develop and fine-tune its methodology in order to ensure it continues to be one of the most valuable judging competitions in the industry. ACSA works to create a scoring card that generates meaningful, detailed feedback for entrants. Spirits were scored on appearance, aroma intensity, aroma complexity, palate concentration, palate complexity, body, character and nature of alcohol, texture, and finish. Finally, each judge was asked if they would pour the spirit for a peer. 

Scoring and Medal Criteria

The scoring of spirits was based on a 100-point system, with spirits judged on the overall, cohesive impression of the spirit. Spirits were then assigned a medal based on the average score determined by the following benchmarks: 70-79 = Bronze; 80-89 = Silver; 90-100 = Gold.

Best of Class / Best in Show

The top awarded spirits were selected based upon their numerical score with the highest scores earning Best of Class / Best in Show distinction. 

Innovation Award

The annual Innovation Award, created to showcase true creativity, honors an innovative, remarkable spirit that is not commonly associated with a flavor profile in a known spirits category. 

4th Annual Packaging Awards – Methodology

Judging took place virtually in January, with an esteemed panel of judges evaluating each entry on the following criteria. Aesthetics: How does the packaging appeal to you from a design/artistic perspective? Innovation: How original is the design? Does it stand out on a shelf? Emotional Appeal: How does the packaging make you feel? Does it connect with you? Brand Communication: How well does the packaging tell the story of the brand/product through visual/design/copy elements?

Spirits were judged by a panel of industry experts including creative director Jim Flynn; highly regarded spirits specialist Sailor Guevara; writer Andrew Kaplan; photographer Shane O’Donnell; writer Erika Rietz; and CRAFT SPIRITS magazine art director Michelle Villas.

About ACSA

The American Craft Spirits Association is the only national 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.) For information about ACSA, call 202-669-3661.

©2024 American Craft Spirits Association; All Rights Reserved. Member Owned, Industry Driven.

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