Craft Distilleries Will Compete for Title of Best State Whiskey at 2023 Heartland Whiskey Competition

  • Top farmer-distiller whiskey award added to fourth biennial competition
  •  State corn associations sponsor competition that will include multiple whiskey categories along with best-of-state.

CHICAGO—Participating state corn associations today announced that the 2023 Heartland Whiskey Competition will take place August 1-2 in St. Louis, Missouri. This is the fourth biennial Heartland Whiskey Competition that state corn marketing associations have sponsored. The judged competition is sanctioned by the American Craft Spirits Association and strictly limited to craft whiskeys that contain some amount of corn as an ingredient. Any craft distiller in the U.S. is eligible to enter product for judging in multiple whiskey categories (e.g., bourbon, bottled in bond, rye, etc.). The most coveted awards are “Best of State” which are limited to only those states sponsored by their respective corn associations. “Best of Show” which represents the top scoring whiskey across all categories is also limited to sponsored states.

New for the 2023 competition is a national, “cross-category” award: Top Farmer-Distiller. This award will go to the top-scoring whisky across all categories that is produced by a distillery whose owner(s) operates a working farm. The first three competitions saw farmer-distillers walk away with scores of medals and trophies including several “Best-of-State”. The new farmer-distiller award recognizes the heritage of craft distilling and farming, and offers the opportunity for one accomplished distiller to earn bragging rights.


“We are pleased that as our craft spirits industry expands — the number of craft distillers has grown by 54% since the inaugural 2017 competition — corn growers across the heartland have stood behind us and sponsored this important competition,” said Margie A.S. Lehrman, Chief Executive Officer of ACSA.  “Most craft distilleries source corn grown nearby for their mash and that amount has grown considerably in recent years. It’s exciting to add a new award for best farmer-distiller which recognizes the critical relationship of our two, overlapping industries.”

Competition awards such as medals and trophies are important to craft distillers because they recognized great product which positively influence consumer retail purchases.

ACSA will select judges from accomplished industry professionals and mixologists who have demonstrated experience with craft spirits. The actual judging will occur on August 2nd and winners will be announced by early September.

Sponsoring State Corn Associations

The following state corn marketing associations collectively sponsor the 2023 Heartland Whiskey Competition and state-level competitions in 21 states representing more than 75% of all U.S. craft distillers:

Colorado Corn Promotion Council

Illinois Corn Marketing Board

Indiana Corn Growers Association

Iowa Corn Promotion Board

Kansas Corn Growers Association

Kentucky Corn Growers Association

Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board

Corn Marketing Program of Michigan

Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council

Missouri Corn Merchandising Council

Nebraska Corn Board

New York Corn & Soybean Growers Association

Corn Growers Association of North Carolina

Ohio Corn Marketing Program

Pennsylvania Corn Growers Association

Texas Corn Producers

Tennessee Corn Promotion Board

Wisconsin Corn Promotion Board


About American Craft Spirits Association

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, 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.) 

About Heartland Whiskey Competition

Founded in 2017, The Heartland Whiskey Competition is a biennial, blind tasting judging event sanctioned and supervised by the American Craft Spirits Association. It is sponsored by the promotion arms of participating state corn associations. Competition in several whiskey categories is open to all U.S. craft distillers whose submission are manufactured using some amount of corn. Competition for Best-of-State, Best-of-Show and Top-Farmer-Distiller are open to all qualifying submissions from sponsored states.

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

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