GRAND RAPIDS – Eastern Kille Distillery participated in the world’s largest spirits competition for the first time and both of their entries earned awards.
The West Michigan based spirits distiller earned a gold award for their 4 year bottled-in-bond bourbon and a silver award for their 4 year aged rum at the 20th annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
The San Francisco World Spirits Competition is the world’s largest, with entries and judges from all over the world. More than 40 judges are split among tables or panels, while volunteers cart nearly 3,000 spirits to the panels. San Francisco has a history of bringing attention to relatively unknown brands, such as St. Germain and Tito’s.
Eastern Kille’s bourbon was among only 4 bourbons in the craft distillery whiskey category to receive a gold level award and the only from Michigan.
“We are proud to receive recognition from San Francisco, which is widely regarded as the most important spirits competition in the world, for our bottled-in-bond bourbon”, shared Steve Vander Pol, cofounder of Eastern Kille Distillery. “This gold award represents over 4 years of a truly craft process; the process we founded our distillery on.”
Bottled-in-bond dates back to the 1800’s and is one of the earliest forms of a consumer protection law. The bottled-in-bond designation mandates that brands clear numerous rigorous hurdles. The spirit must be aged for at least four years and bottled at precisely 100 proof (50% abv). It must be made by one distiller at a single distillery in one season, then aged in a bonded warehouse.
This is the first bottled-in-bond bourbon that the distillery released. It was aged 4 years and 14 days and produced 234 bottles which sold out the day it was released on March 17, 2020. Ten bottles were held for when the tasting room reopens. Another small batch of bottled in bond will be released in October 2020 and it will hit store shelves in the summer of 2021. The “little brother” of the bottled-in-bond was released last year, Michigan Straight Bourbon Whiskey is 90 proof vs the 100 of bottled-in-bond and is widely available.
During this time of crisis, Eastern Kille is offering to-go bottles and cocktail kits. They have also shifted production to hand sanitizer in the short term.