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2021 Winners of Heartland Whiskey Competition Recently Announced

The American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) recently announced the medalists of the 2021 Heartland Whiskey Competition, which was open to craft whiskeys from all 50 states that incorporate corn in their mash bill. Whiskeys from 17 “Heartland” states also competed for Best of Show and Best in State, and all entries competed in their select whiskey sub-categories.

The competition took place late July with the judging facilitated by ASCA and its former Board President – Chris Montana, owner of Du Nord Social Spirits, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who served as the Judging Director. The Bard Distillery, in Graham, Kentucky assisted with pre-competition logistics. Judges selected from the local Kentucky whiskey industry were chosen for their knowledge and expertise of craft whiskey.

Best of Show was won by Weldon Mills Distillery from Weldon, North Carolina, for its Rockfish Whiskey, which also earned the top score in the Corn Whiskey category.

2021 Heartland Whiskey Competition
Best of Show was won by Weldon Mills Distillery from Weldon, North Carolina, for its Rockfish Whiskey, which also earned the top score in the Corn Whiskey category. (image via Weldon Mills)

“It is important to recognize that craft distillers, an industry that relies on the corn we grow, have sustained their businesses through trying times and continue to improve an already excellent product,” Chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board Mark Wilson said in a prepared statement. “Corn growers throughout the heartland, through their participating corn associations, support these entrepreneurs, many of whom are working farmers and all of whom are customers of ours.”

Only eight whiskeys were awarded a gold medal, while 14 received silver, and 25 bronze in the competition. The Best in State trophies were limited to the 17 Heartland states and awarded to those whiskeys with the highest single-product score in its respective state, regardless of category.

Examples of some of the winners included:

2021 Heartland Whiskey Competition Category Medalists:

Blended                      High Bank Whiskey War Double Oaked           High Bank Distillery Co.

Bourbon                      Casey Jones Kentucky Straight Bourbon(tie)   Casey Jones Distillery
                                    Single Barrel Straight Bourbon(tie)                   Black Button Distilling

Corn Whiskey             Rockfish Whiskey                                              Weldon Mills Distillery

Four Grain                   Four Grain Bourbon                                          Detroit City Distillery

Rye                              White Rye                                                          Lake House Distilling Co.

Straight                       Third Wind Straight Bourbon                              Third Wind Distilling

The 2021 Best in State Medalists:

Colorado                     Ella Jones Colorado Straight Bourbon          The Family Jones

Illinois                         JK Williams Gold Zephyr Bourbon                JK Williams Distilling

Indiana                        Straight Rye Whiskey                                   Cardinal Spirits

Iowa                            Iowa Straight Bourbon                                  Cedar Ridge Distillery

Kansas                        Wabash Reserve Bourbon Whiskey             Boot Hill Distillery

Kentucky                     Casey Jones Kentucky Straight Bourbon     Casey Jones Distillery

Michigan                     Bourbon Finished In Mezcal Barrels             Iron Fish Distillery

Minnesota                   Brickyard Straight Bourbon                           J. Carver Distillery

Missouri                      Monon Bell Bourbon Cask Strength              Still 630

Nebraska                    Nebraska Straight Bourbon                           Loup River Distilling

New York                   Single Barrel Straight Bourbon                       Black Button Distilling

North Carolina            Rockfish Whiskey                                           Weldon Mills Distillery

North Dakota              Crooked Furrow                                             Proof Artisan Distillers

Ohio                            High Bank Whiskey War Double Oaked       High Bank Distillery Co.

Tennessee                  1784 White Tennessee Whiskey                  Lost State Distilling

Texas                          Garrison Brothers Cowboy                           Garrison Brothers Distillery

Wisconsin                    Small Batch Straight Bourbon Whiskey        Driftless Glen Distillery

A full list of medalists can be found at the ACSA website.

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