Tom's Town Distilling Co. wins title Best Craft Vodka Distillery
Restless Spirits Distilling Company comes in second place
Russia and Poland were distilling vodka as early as the 8th or 9th centuries. Since those early days, it has become one of the world's most popular spirits, thanks in large part to its versatility in mixing. But vodka doesn't just belong in cocktails; while some distilleries compete to create the smoothest, clearest and sometimes most flavorless variation, others are embracing vodka by making it with local, high-quality ingredients (not just potatoes anymore) with minimal distillation to allow the natural flavors to shine.
Union Horse Distilling Co. (Lenexa, Kan.)
Rider Vodka, a small-batch spirit from Union Horse Distilling Co., begins with a wheat mash distilled in a hand-crafted copper still. The resulting spirit is slow-filtered six times for an exceptionally smooth mouth feel. Photo courtesy of Union Horse Distilling Co.
Dented Brick Distillery (Salt Lake City)
Utah-grown rye and wheat grains form the foundation for Dented Brick Distillery's Roofraiser Vodka. This European-style vodka has a spicy kick from the rye not often found in American vodkas more typically made from corn. It gets its name from an incident when the Salt Lake City
distillery had to alter the height of their roof to accommodate the stills. Photo courtesy of Dented Brick Distillery / Facebook
Du Nord Craft Spirits (Minneapolis)
The award-winning vodka from Du Nord Craft Spirits in Minneapolis is named after the Minnesota state motto, "L'etoile Du Nord." The spirit is milled, mashed and fermented in-house, and its clean flavor profile makes it an excellent option for a martini or summer cocktail. Photo courtesy of Du Nord Craft Spirits
Pinckney Bend Distillery (New Haven, Mo.)
Pinckney Bend Distillery in Missouri starts their Three-Grain American Vodka with a base of 80-percent organic wheat, 15-percent barley and 5-percent rye that is distilled multiple times before getting filtered through activated charcoal for a velvety smooth and subtle vodka. Each grain is distilled separately in small batches to maintain its unique flavor profile. Photo courtesy of Tony Carosella / Pinckney Bend Distillery
Dry Fly Distilling (Spokane, Wash.)
Spokane's Dry Fly Distilling prides itself on its farm-to-bottle spirits, including a vodka made from Eastern Washington soft white winter wheat sourced from century-old family farms. The triple-distilled spirit is only lightly filtered to preserve its natural wheat flavor Photo courtesy of Dry Fly Distilling
Peach Street Distillers (Palisade, Colo.)
Goat Artisan Vodka, crafted by Peach Street Distillers in Colorado, is made from a combination of locally grown corn, winter wheat and malted barley. It gets distilled three times and charcoal filtered to lend smoothness without sacrificing its flavor profile. Photo courtesy of Colorado Distillers Festival / Flickr
Black Dog Distillery (Plainfield, Ill.)
Black Dog Distillery specializes in small-batch vodka, distilled 200 gallons at a time to create unique flavor profiles not often found in mass produced spirits. A portion of the proceeds go toward local animal shelters. Photo courtesy of Black Dog Distillery
Pennsylvania Pure Distilleries (Glenshaw, Penn.)
Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka, the flagship spirit at Pennsylvania Pure Distilleries, is an award-winning vodka with notes of maple, honey and cocoa bean. Unlike other vodkas, which use both the "heads and tails" of the distillation process, Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka uses only the “hearts”, lending it a very clean and unique taste. Photo courtesy of Pennsylvania Pure Distilleries
Restless Spirits Distilling Company (Kansas City, Mo.)
Inspired by the 57 men who died while laying the tracks of infamous Duffy's Cut, Restless Spirits' Duffy's Run Vodka is made using a Vendome still – one of the few of its kind in the U.S. – which helps maintain the flavor of the 100-percent Missouri corn mash. Photo courtesy of Restless Spirits Distilling Company
Tom's Town Distilling Co. (Kansas City, Mo.)
Eli's Strongarm Vodka, made at Tom's Town Distilling Co. in Kansas City
, is named after Eli Matheus, a rough-and-tough Prohibition-era riverboat captain. In contrast, his namesake vodka is smooth and pure, thanks to a 16-distillation process. Photo courtesy of Tom's Town Distilling Co.
We asked a panel of American spirits experts to nominate 20 of the best craft vodka distilleries in the USA, and four the past four weeks, our readers have been voting daily for their favorites. Many of these distilleries work in small batches using locally-sourced ingredients. Many are family-owned. All take pride in crafting unique vodkas worthy of sipping as well as mixing.
The top 10 winners in the category Best Craft Vodka Distillery are as follows:
- Tom’s Town Distilling Co. - Kansas City, Mo.
- Restless Spirits Distilling Company - Kansas City, Mo.
- Pennsylvania Pure Distilleries - Glenshaw, Penn.
- Black Dog Distillery - Plainfield, Ill.
- Peach Street Distillers - Palisade, Colo.
- Dry Fly Distilling - Spokane, Wash.
- Pinckney Bend Distillery - New Haven, Mo.
- Du Nord Craft Spirits - Minneapolis
- Dented Brick Distillery - Salt Lake City
- Union Horse Distilling Co. - Lenexa, Kan.
A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Emily Arden Wells (Gastronomista), Brian Christensen (Artisan Spirit Magazine), Derek Gamlin (Sub Zero Vodka Bar), Laura Johnson (Distillerista) and Arthur Shapiro (Booze Business) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of the American craft spirits industry.
Congratulations to all these winning distilleries!