B.H. James Distillery in Adairville, Ky., has announced it is now an award winning distillery.
Distillery owner Shawn McCormick said, “Winning these awards is a true honor and a major sense of accomplishment because all the winning spirits are from the first batches we ever produced.” He added, “I worked very hard to get the distillery open and to bottle really great tasting products.”
McCormick chose to enter his products into two of the best competitions out there. “I’ve entered a few well known tasting competitions. The first two I entered and that have made announcements so far for 2023 are the Beverage Testing Institute and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, which are the awards I’ve recently announced.”
“Other competitions I submitted my spirits to will be judged and announced later this year. Those include the ASCoT Awards (American Spirits Council of Tasters), the John Barley Corn Awards, and the American Distilling Institute. I may enter a few more later this year as some are just now opening for entry,” shared McCormick.
According to their website, the Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) is “an independent, privately-owned corporation that conducts professional, blind tastings and reviews of beverage products for marketing and educational purposes.” Participation in their open-forum tastings is voluntary and producers, brand owners and marketers pay a fee to enter their products into the tasting sessions or competitions.
BTI has been testing and rating products since 1981 and use an industry leading evaluation method co-developed with Cornell University. Panelists use a simple scale which allows them to consider “general quality, without the distraction of adding points.” When a product breaks “the critical gold barrier” they are “tasted twice without exception, virtually guaranteeing that they deserve their accolades.” A Gold Medal winner earns an exceptional score of 90-95 and a Silver Medal winner achieves a score of 85-89 and is considered highly recommended.
On submitting to the BTI, McCormick said, “I submitted my James Lake Vodkas to the BTI because they are a well-known organization and respected for their testing methods.”
BTI awards earned were for James Lake Small Batch Crafted Vodka — 87 Points — Silver Medal and 3rd Place in the Cosmopolitan Cocktail Competition; James Lake Citrus Solstice Vodka — 84 Points — Bronze Medal and 4th Place in the Cosmopolitan Cocktail Competition; James Lake Tangerine Dream Vodka — 92 Point — Gold Medal; and James Lake Crisp Cucumber Vodka — 87 Points — Silver Medal.
The San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) is, according to their website, “the largest and most prestigious spirits competition in the world.” They also state, “The Tasting Alliance Competitions are considered the most influential for a reason. Earning a medal from the organization not only helps brands enter and stand out in the U.S. and international markets but is a critical next step for any producer to earn recognition in the industry and with consumers.” Winning a medal from SFWSC is a “universally recognized indicator of exceptional quality and craftmanship.”
An SFWSC Gold medal means the products are “Exceptional spirits that are near the pinnacle of achievement; these products set the standard for their categories.” A Silver medal is “Outstanding spirits that show refinement, finesse, and complexity; these winners are among the best examples of their categories.”
On submitting to SFWSC, McCormick said, “I submitted my James Lake Vodkas and Burton James Whiskies to the SFWSC because it is the most prestigious and closely watched spirits competition in the U.S.”
SFWSC awards earned were Gold Medal — Burton James Whiskey Batch 2 — Rookie Season: Batter Up; Silver Medals — Burton James Whiskey Batch 1 — Rookie Season: Opener, James Lake Small Batch Crafted Vodka, James Lake Citrus Solstice, James Lake Summer Berries, and James Lake Crisp Cucumber; and Bronze Medal — James Lake Tangerine Dream.
McCormick said, “Besides winning these great awards, it’s really rewarding when I hand someone a sample of my spirits and they are amazed by the aroma and flavor and get excited about purchasing a bottle.” He continued, “It’s been a long 10 year journey from when I thought about opening a distillery while touring the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in 2012. To receive recognition in our “rookie season” is extremely gratifying.”
In addition to the award winning vodka botanicals and Burton James Uniquely American Whiskey, two new products are coming to the distillery’s lineup during the 75th Strawberry Festival this month.
McCormick said, “Burton James Whiskey — Rookie Season: Fireman release will also include a small amount of Cask Strength bottles! This will be the third and final rookie season bottling. Fireman is in reference to the distillery being in the old Adairville Fire Station and the closing pitcher in baseball is often called the Fireman.”
“We will also release our first on-site made, barreled and aged whiskey — Kentucky Grit Corn Whiskey. It will be aged a little over 5 weeks. Yes, this is young, but so are we! We wanted to give people a small sneak peek into what we’re making and how it’s developing over time,” shared the distiller.
You can now purchase these flavors from the distillery at 220 West Gallatin Street, Adairville or from one of many local retail locations.
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