JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC) today announced its sponsorship of the Heartland Whiskey Competition and is inviting Missouri distilleries to vie for state bragging rights. Taking place July 22-23 in Louisville, Ky., the biennial contest is sanctioned by the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) and strictly limited to craft whiskeys that contain some amount of corn as an ingredient.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase our state’s agriculture industry in a creative way,” said MCMC Chairman Jay Schutte of Benton City. “While you might not think of whiskey as a major use of corn, for many, it is another way to enjoy one of our state’s top crops. We look forward to supporting this competition and finding the best Missouri has to offer in corn spirits.”
A growing industry, Missouri is home to more than 62 craft distilleries. On average, it takes approximately 3 pounds of corn to make one bottle of spirits. At 56 pounds in a bushel, local distilleries can produce roughly 18 bottles of spirits for each bushel of corn. Most craft distilleries use corn mash sourced locally to make their product.
“We are thrilled to once again work with the state corn associations and support a competition that highlights small distilleries in their individual states, which covers over 90 percent of all U.S. craft distilleries,” said Margie A.S. Lehrman, ACSA chief executive officer. “Ours is a rapidly growing industry that requires continual support, which corn growers have so graciously provided these last several years. This competition provides craft distilleries – many of which are independent, family-run businesses – a unique opportunity for visibility among consumers and distributors.”
Competitions carry significant weight in the spirits industry, as award medals are often the reason a consumer purchases a product at retail. The most coveted awards are “Best of State,” which are limited to only those states sponsored by their respective corn associations, and “Best of Show,” also limited to sponsor states. Missouri is one of 16 states participating in state-specific contests.
ACSA will select judges from accomplished mixologists who have experience with craft spirits. The actual judging will occur July 22 and 23, and winners will be announced in early August.
— Missouri Corn Growers Association
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