In the third annual Honey Spirits Competition, a gin-inspired spirit distilled 100% from honey and flavored with botanicals took home Best in Show honors. It was the first time a spirit distilled from honey won the award. Egg Harbor, Wisconsin-based Hatch Distilling Co.’s simply named Gin was one of more than 80 entrants into the competition, and the first spirit distilled from honey to win Best in Show honors.
Overall, spirits distilled from honey had their best showing in the three years the competition has run, garnering five gold medals out of a total of nine given. Medals also were given to the best vodkas, brandys, rums, brandies, moonshines and liqueurs.
“The quality of this year’s spirits, especially in the distilled from honey categories was outstanding,” Catherine Barry, the National Honey Board’s director of marketing, says. “It really showed an advancement to a new level of expertise by distillers in fermenting honey and distilling it. This style of spirit is growing in popularity, and the quality has matched this growth.”
The National Honey Board’s Honey Spirits Competition recognizes the best spirits in the United States that use honey either as a sweetener, flavor or distillate. An expert panel of judges evaluated each spirit. Nine spirits won gold medals, including a design gold that recognized the best honey or honeybee-related label graphics. More than 50 spirits took home silver and bronze medals after the evaluation of appearance, nose, palate and the role honey played in the spirit.
This year’s competition was a little different due to COVID-19, but based on our successful Honey Beer Competition held a couple of weeks ago, we knew we could pull off a great, safe event.The quality of spirits at this year’s event was remarkable, and we were excited to award more gold medals than we ever have before. Here’s the list of the winners:
2020 Gold Medal Recipients
Spirits Distilled from Honey - Flavored: Gin - Hatch Distilling Co. (Best in Show), Egg Harbor, Wisconsin
Bourbon/Whiskey: Western Pacific American Honey Whiskey - Western Pacific Winery & Spirits, Oakland, California
Honey Liqueurs/Specialty Spirits: Amaro - Admiralty Distillers, Port Townsend, Washington
Honey Liqueurs/Specialty Spirits: Hazelnut Honey Bourbon Ratafia - Mountain State Spirits, Bridgeport, West Virginia
Honey Liqueurs/Specialty Spirits: Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur - Honey House Distillery, Durango, Colorado
Spirits Distilled from Honey: Yellow Label - Domeloz Somel, Madison, Wisconsin
Spirits Distilled from Honey: Barrel Finished Honey Spirit - Up North Distillery, Post Falls, Idaho
Spirits Distilled from Honey: 12th Hawaii Distiller Distillers Reserve - 12th Hawaii Distiller, Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Spirits Distilled from Honey - Flavored: Dawn Fire - White Winter Winery, Inc., Iron River, Wisconsin
Design/Packaging: Detroit City Distillery Honey Bourbon - Detroit City Distillery, Detroit, Michigan
For a full list of winners, more information and pictures, please visit honeyspiritscompetition.com/2020-awards.