A visit to Japan's Fuji Gotemba Distillery, Global Travel Retail special, a tour of US visitor centres, plus Icons of Whisky Rest of World results
The results from the first round of voting for the 2014 Icons of Whisky
We start the annual search for the stars of the distilling industry this year within the United States of America. This has been another incredible year for Bourbon, and whisky in general, with many brands expanding their reach across the globe. Several companies have created new visitor experiences in the US reflecting the increase in demand for knowledge, and the market appetite for Bourbon continues to soar.
From small beginnings the craft distilling scene really has exploded with more distilleries starting up than ever before. These small distilling outfits are really leading the way in terms of innovation.
There is also a rise in the tide of flavoured whiskies sweeping the States, partially lead by some of the craft distillers, but the bigger companies are proving they can play the game too.
We hope that you will celebrate the diversity the industry has to offer and join us in congratulating the winners.
Quietly getting on with the job of creating consistently excellent products, while experimenting with the production and maturation methods of Bourbon. Under the watchful eyes of master distiller Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace has been keeping the spirits of the great names like Taylor, Stagg, Blanton and Lee alive.
Jim Beam Clermont
Taking the crown for the second year, Balcones has become synonymous with expertise, innovation and precision, having produced some of the most highly acclaimed artisanal whiskies. Built from scratch, from metal sheeting and copper, to old stainless steel vessels bought on eBay, the team of three built the distillery from the bottom up.
Dry Fly Distilling
Lost Spirits Distillery
Russell has been making Bourbon for 54 years. Within a small group of distillers, he has gained a reputation as “the master distillers’ master distiller.” From the first selection of grains through the entire distillation and aging process, he fuses experience and wisdom to create incredible spirits.
Chip Tate Balcones
Darek Bell Corsair Distillers
Ralph Erenzo Tuthilltown
Bernie Lubbers Heaven Hill
Fred Noe Beam Global
Jim Rutledge Four Roses
David is one of the few global ambassadors for a Scotch whisky producer to be based in the US, and literally travels the world on behalf of Glemmorangie and Ardbeg. His enthusiastic style and passionate presentations and tastings have won many over to the joys of his brands, and single malts in general.
Robin Robinson Compass Box
Eden Alfie The Macallan
Simon Brooking Laphroaig
Gregor Catternach Diageo
Brad Jarvis International Spirit and Wines
Ewan Morgan Diageo
A must visit for any American whiskey devotee. The museum chronicles the history of American whiskey from Colonial days through the 1960s. Rare documents such as Abraham Lincoln’s liquor licence, advertising posters, prescriptions for the medicinal use of alcohol during National Prohibition, whiskey bottles, and several moonshine stills, are all on display.
Jim Beam American Stillhouse
Taking the trophy home for another year, Nashville, Tennessee based Corsair (the city’s first since Prohibition) has been pushing the boundaries of whiskey making since its inception. Throwing away the rulebook and experimenting with everything from whiskies distilled from exotic grains like quinoa to something called Amarillo Aromatherapy Bourbon, these guys are not afraid to try anything.
Lost Spirits Distillery
This iconic New York establishment has held sway in the city now for three generations. Nearly 80 years have gone in to turning it into one of the best drinks shops in the world. Located in the centre of New York’s Manhattan district, Park Avenue Liquors has built up a reputation as the destination for the whisky lover when in New York. The shop has knowledgeable staff to guide you.
Federal Wine & Spirits
Hi-Time Wine Cellars
K&L Wine Merchants
The winning streak of this Illinois retailer is proving difficult to break, yet again this excellent chain takes the honours home, in what has been one of the longest consistent donimations of an award in Whisky Magazine and Icons history. Binny’s do an outstanding job of educating consumers and finding unusual whiskies to widen its inventory, coupled with a broad range of tasting events and cigars, there is nothing a beginner or connoisseur should be left wanting after a trip to the local store.
Total Wine & More
Spec’s Liquor Shop
Parker is part of a rich line that stretches back into whiskey history. Beam, has been practicing his family’s craft for distilling, since the mid 1970s. With nearly a quarter of a century under his belt, he knows every nut and bolt of his distillery, and his pride and passion for the distillery is evident when he talks about Bourbons.
Jim Rutledge, Four Roses
Darek Bell Corsair Distillery
Chris Morris Woodford Reserve
Jimmy Russell Wild Turkey
Chip Tate Balcones Distillery
Open just a year and the Jim Beam American Stillhouse has had more than 100,000 people stop by so far. Kim heads up the team that has created such a hit. She runs the show with her friendly, knowledgeable and efficient staff and creates an atmosphere where visitors could pull up a chair, be part of the family and enjoy the world’s No. 1 Bourbon in a whole new way. Guided tours take the visitor through the entire process, starting with the natural limestone water well and all the way through the mashing, distilling, barrelling, storing, and bottling.
Allisa Henley George Dickel
Headquartered in Westchester County, New York, International Spirits and Wines LLC is committed to supplying the United States with the finest, high-quality spirits, including single malt and Irish whiskies. It is thanks to ISW that the likes of Big Peat, Kavalan and the Old Malt Cask series of whiskies are available in the US, and are promoted consistently across the country.
Purple Valley Imports
Spirit Imports Inc.
Since its founding in 1968, Southern Wine and Spirits of America has become known for its best-in-industry professional and well-trained sales, operational and support staff, its ongoing investments in and contributions to hospitality and beverage education for its staff, its customers and to many national educational institutions. Today, Southern operates in 35 states, including its original Florida market, where its corporate headquarters is located in Miami.