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619 Spirits wins Readers' Choice award

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San Diego distillery wins big for their craft vodka

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 (including potatoes, wheat, corn and even grapes) with minimal distillation to allow the natural flavors to shine.

  • 619 Spirits
    San Diego

    San Diego’s first urban craft distillery makes Six One Nine Vodka from the city’s North Park neighborhood. The spirit is distilled entirely from cane sugar for a clean, smooth texture that’s naturally gluten free.
    Photo courtesy of 619 Spirits

  • Cardinal Spirits
    Bloomington, Ind.

    Indiana’s Cardinal Spirits crafts two different vodkas in their Bloomington distillery. Cardinal Spirits Vodka is made from Argentinian white grapes for a smooth, fruity spirit, while Pride Vodka is fermented and distilled from Indiana corn, with a portion of profits going to local LGBTQ organizations.
    Photo courtesy of Cardinal Spirits

  • Long Road Distillers
    Grand Rapids, Mich.

    The full-bodied and flavorful vodka from Long Road Distillers starts with a base of locally grown red winter wheat that’s milled, fermented, distilled and filtered in-house.
    Photo courtesy of Long Road Distillers

  • Tom's Town Distilling Company
    Kansas City, Mo.

    Tom’s Town Double Grain Vodka is smooth and pure, distilled with 90% wheat and 10% Missouri rye from a family farm thirty miles from their Kansas City distillery. It has a distinctive creamy texture and smooth finish.
    Photo courtesy of Tom's Town Distilling Co.

  • Stumpy's Spirits Distillery
    Columbia, Ill.

    Stumpy's Spirits Distillery crafts their Silky smooth Unbroken Vodka with corn from an eighth generation family farm in Columbia, Illinois. Only the heart of the naturally gluten-free spirit makes the final cut, for a slightly sweet vodka with notes of vanilla.
    Photo courtesy of Stumpy's Spirits Distillery

  • Boot Hill Distillery
    Dodge City, Kansas

    The 100-percent wheat vodka from Boot Hill Distillery in Dodge City, Kansas is made from grains grown by the owners. The spirit is pot and column-distilled for a fuller mouthfeel than a typical vodka, with sweet and spicy notes and a creamy aroma.
    Photo courtesy of Boot Hill Distillery

  • Smugglers' Notch Distillery
    Jeffersonville, Vt.

    Smugglers’ Notch Vodka is made from Idaho-grown grains and water from the Mount Mansfield watershed of Northern Vermont. The grain wash gets distilled in a four-column still and passed through a multi-stage filtration process for a smooth vodka with just a hint of sweetness. Smugglers’ Notch Distillery also makes an organic gluten-free vodka made from corn.
    Photo courtesy of Smugglers' Notch Distillery / Craig Orsini

  • Journeyman Distillery
    Three Oaks, Mich.

    Red Arrow Vodka from Michigan's Journeyman Distillery is named for a local road in the community of Three Oaks. The spirit, triple-distilled from 100-percent organic wheat, exhibits a clean, smooth and crisp flavor, making it an excellent choice for cocktails or to drink straight.
    Photo courtesy of Journeyman Distillery

  • Swallowtail Spirits
    Springfield, Ore.

    Swallowtail Spirits makes their vodka from non-GMO corn, distilled six times and filtered through a two-stage process. A pound of raw fruit is used to infuse each bottle of flavored vodka, with options like raspberry, marionberry, apple cider, boysenberry and blackberry.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / bhofack2

  • Grand Teton Distillery
    Driggs, Idaho

    Idaho’s Grand Teton Distillery sits in the shadows of the Tetons surrounded by Idaho potato fields, so it’s no surprise that the Grand Teton Vodka is made from local Idaho potatoes. The small batch Born and Bred Vodka gets distilled 20 times and is proofed with pure glacial water. Flavored options include huckleberry and cherry.
    Photo courtesy of Grand Teton Distillery

The top 10 winners in the category Best Craft Vodka Distillery are as follows:

  1. 619 Spirits - San Diego
  2. Cardinal Spirits - Bloomington, Ind.
  3. Long Road Distillers - Grand Rapids, Mich.
  4. Tom's Town Distilling Company - Kansas City, Mo.
  5. Stumpy's Spirits Distillery - Columbia, Ill.
  6. Boot Hill Distillery - Dodge City, Kansas
  7. Smugglers' Notch Distillery - Jeffersonville, Vt.
  8. Journeyman Distillery - Three Oaks, Mich.
  9. Swallowtail Spirits - Springfield, Ore.
  10. Grand Teton Distillery - Driggs, Idaho

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning distilleries!

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AlertThe Experts

Brian Christensen

Brian Christensen

Brian Christensen

Wayne Curtis

Wayne Curtis

Wayne Curtis

Ziggy Eschliman

Ziggy Eschliman

Ziggy Eschliman

Derek Gamlin

Derek Gamlin

Derek Gamlin

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Jack Robertiello

Jack Robertiello

Jack Robertiello

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