Balcones Distilling Named Best Craft Whiskey Distillery

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co., StilL 630, Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery and Westland Distillery also winners

While American whiskey might be most closely associated with Tennessee and Kentucky, the spirit is distilled and bottled throughout the country using a wide variety of grains. There are many types of American whiskey – bourbon, rye and Tennessee to name a few – made from a combination of old-world and new-school techniques. We asked a panel of whiskey experts to nominate the best 20 American craft whiskey distilleries in the nation. For the past four weeks, our readers have been voting for their favorites.

  • High West Distillery
    Wanship, Utah

    Park City's High West Distillery celebrates the American West with its line of whiskeys and bourbons. High West pot distills their Silver Whiskey Western Oat – an un-aged oat whiskey made from oats and malted barley – in house. They're perhaps better known for their blended whiskeys, sourced from distilleries around the nation. One of the more singular offerings is Campfire, a blend of Scotch, bourbon and rye whiskeys.
    Photo courtesy of High West Distillery

  • Breuckelen Distilling
    Brooklyn, N.Y.

    Founded in 2010, Breuckelen Distilling crafts their 77 Whiskeys from scratch using only New York State-grown grains. One variety, distilled from New York wheat, creates a smooth and gentle base to allow for more pronounced oak flavors after one to two years in new American oak. The second variety is made from a mash of 90-percent rye and 10-percent corn for a rich and spicy spirit, also aged in new American oak.
    Photo courtesy of Breuckelen Distilling

  • High Wire Distilling
    Charleston, S.C.

    Small-batch whiskeys from High Wire Distilling in Charleston include New Southern Revival Sorghum Whiskey distilled from Tennessee-grown sorghum wheat; four-grain Bourbon Whiskey distilled from a mash of heirloom white corn, red winter wheat, malted barley and Carolina gold rice bran and a cask-finished Bourbon Whiskey aged in madeira barrels.
    Photo courtesy of High Wire Distilling

  • Mountain Laurel Spirits
    Bristol, Penn.

    Dad's Hat Rye, made by Mountain Laurel Spirits, is a Pennsylvania Rye whiskey made by distilling rye grain, malted barley and rye malt and aging in charred new oak quarter casks for at least six months. The Double Finish spends an additional three months in sweet vermouth or port wine barrels, while the White Rye is diluted straight from the still with no barrel aging.
    Photo courtesy of Colin Lenton

  • Garrison Brothers Distillery
    Hye, Texas

    Garrison Brothers Distillery specializes in fine Texas bourbon made from 51-percent corn and aged in new white American oak barrels. Garrison Bros. only produces a few hundred barrels a year, and each year has its own distinct flavor profile based on variations in mash, production method and barreling strategy.
    Photo courtesy of Garrison Brothers

  • Westland Distillery

    Westland Distillery in Seattle uses flavorful malted barley to distill an American Single Malt for a rich whiskey aged in predominantly new American oak. The Peated American Single Malt starts with a mash made from heavily peat-smoked malted barley for a well-balanced but decidedly peaty spirit.  Sherry Wood American Single Malt gets aged in Pedro Ximenez and Oloroso barrels for a distinctive flavor.
    Photo courtesy of Westland Distillery

  • Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery
    Gardiner, N.Y.

    New York's Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery hand-crafts six different whiskeys at their facility in Gardiner, including New York Corn Whiskey, Baby Bourbon Whiskey, Single Malt Whiskey, Four Grain Bourbon, Manhattan Rye Whiskey and Maple Cask Rye Whiskey.
    Photo courtesy of Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery / Facebook

  • StilL 630
    St. Louis

    StilL 630 in St. Louis hand-crafts a variety of bourbons and whiskeys, including the white and un-aged Big Jake White Dog Whiskey, coffee-infused Big Jake Breakfast Brew, single-barrel RallyPoint Rye and double pot-distilled S.S. Sorghum Whiskey.
    Photo courtesy of StilL 630

  • Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co.

    Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. doesn't cut corners when it comes to crafting top-notch American bourbons. This Louisville distillery makes grain-to-class Peerless Rye, Peerless Bourbon and a limited-release Series I seven-bottle collection that traces the spirit from an un-aged bourbon to its completion as a premium Kentucky bourbon.
    Photo courtesy of Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co.

  • Balcones Distilling
    Waco, Texas

    When you pick up a bottle of Balcones whiskey, you'll notice it has been individually stamped in wax and labeled with a handwritten batch number. Balcones Distilling's whiskey lineup includes a Texas Single Malt, Baby Blue blue corn whiskey and Brimstone Texas Scrub Oak Smoked corn whiskey. Limited-release single-barrel whiskeys highlight unique variants and experimental whiskeys found nowhere else.
    Photo courtesy of Balcones Distilling

Many of these distilleries work in small batches using locally-sourced grains. Many are family-owned. Some specialize in traditional American styles, while others focus on the Old World. All take pride in crafting unique whiskeys worthy of any connoisseur's collection.

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

  1. Balcones Distilling - Waco, Texas
  2. Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. - Louisville
  3. StilL 630 - St. Louis
  4. Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery - Gardiner, N.Y.
  5. Westland Distillery - Seattle
  6. Garrison Brothers Distillery - Hye, Texas
  7. Mountain Laurel Spirits - Bristol, Penn.
  8. High Wire Distilling - Charleston, S.C.
  9. Breuckelen Distilling - Brooklyn, N.Y.
  10. High West Distillery - Wanship, Utah

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), Liam Deegan (Barrel Proof), Laura Johnson (Distillerista), Arthur Shapiro (Booze Business) and Bill Thomas (Jack Rose Dining Saloon) were chosen based on their expertise in the American craft whiskey industry.

Other distilleries nominated in this category included Charbay Distillery & Winery, Corsair Distillery, FEW Spirits, House Spirits Distillery, Kings County Distillery, Leopold Bros., Sonoma County Distilling Co., Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, Triple Eight Distillery and Woodinville Whiskey Co.

Congratulations to all our winning craft whiskey distilleries.

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Emily Arden Wells

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Liam Deegan

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Arthur Shapiro

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Bill Thomas

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