Celebrating whiskey excellence
The Icons of Whisky awards are intent on finding the very best people, products and places within the world of whisk(e)y. They celebrate the hard work and ingenuity that goes into every bottle, the stories behind each brand, retailers who open the world up to consumers, and the bars that provide wonderful settings for whisk(e)y lovers to discover new favourites.
Since their inception, these awards have highlighted the heart-warming camaraderie between whisk(e)y professionals – one of the many aspects that makes it such a wonderful industry to work within.
Whiskey Distiller of the Year
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.
Craft Whiskey Distiller of the Year
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.
American Whiskey Ambassador of the Year
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 ageing process, he fuses experience and wisdom to create incredible spirits.
Chip Tate, Balcones
Scotch Whisky Ambassador of the Year
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
Whiskey Visitor Attraction of the Year
Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History
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.
Whiskey Brand Innovator of the Year
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.
Whisky Retailer of the Year – Single Outlet
Park Avenue Liquor Shop
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.
Whisky Retailer of the Year –Multiple Outlet
Binny’s Beverage Depot
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 dominations 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
Whiskey Distillery Manager of the Year
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
Whiskey Visitor Centre Manager of the Year
Jim Beam American Stillhouse
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
Whisky Importer of the Year
International Spirits & Wines
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
Whisky Distributor of the Year
Southern Wine & Spirits
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.
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You are currently in the Icons of Whisky 2014 – America.