Waco's Balcones Whiskey Won Seven Medals at New York Wine and Spirits Competition

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Balcones/Chip Tate
Chip Tate, the founder and distiller of Waco's Balcones Distillery, packed his suitcases full of booze and headed to New York City recently for the World Wine and Spirits Competition. The tiny distillery tucked under a bridge has been racking up the hardware of late, the first distillery to have been awarded the Icons of Whisky craft distillery of the year award twice, as well as the same award from Wizards of Whisky. And don't forget about that time Tate made better Scotch than the Scots.

On Friday, the craft distillery added to its expanding trophy shelf, taking home these awards:

Balcones 5th Anniversary Texas Straight Bourbon: Sweepstakes - Best in Show - Brown Spirits, Best Bourbon in Show, Double Gold.

- A very small run that was released this summer, but another run was planned "within the next few months," according to the Baclones site.

Balcones Texas Rum Special Release: Best Dark/Gold Rum in Show, Double Gold.

- Another small run that might be really hard to come by.

Balcones True Blue 100: Best Corn Whiskey in Show, Double Gold

- This 100 proof corn whiskey is made from the same barrels of their Hopi blue corn whisky, diluted down to 100 proof.

Balcones Brimstone Resurrection: Double Gold

- A 5th Anniversary edition of the infamous oak-smoked corn whisky from Balcones, born from a single barrel. The distillery hopes to bottle and release this whisky in late 2013.

Balcones Crooked Bourbon: Double Gold

- An unreleased whisky project that combines aged corn and malt whiskies to emulate the mashbill of a classic bourbon.

Balcones Texas '1' Single Malt: Gold

- One of Balcones most prized bottles that is aged in several barrels of different sizes and woods, which is finished in large barrels made of various woods.

Balcones Texas Rum: Gold

- This rum is a limited run of true Texan rum, made from molasses and aged to in Balcones' bespoke barrels. According to the Balcones, the rum will be sold directly from the distillery in late 2013.

Balcones has been taking advantage of new legislation that allows distillers to sell on-site for off-site consumption. Keep an eye on their website, newsletter and Facebook page for the announcement of tour around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In the meantime it's for sale at most liquor stores, although the small supply usually sells out quickly. The good news is that Tate recently broke ground on a 65,000 square foot distillery that will hopefully be ready in a year or so, which will allow for many more barrels of whiskey on the wall.

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Wade Woodard
Wade Woodard

Balcones makes some good spirits, but don't plan on going today and buying the majority of these that won  awards.  4 of the 7 have not been released at all yet (some don't even have label approval) and the double gold winner they made just 1 barrel, which is tiny, tiny production.  

In case you don't know, you should understand the nature of the award shows.  IMHO, they are basically pay for play advertising promotions.  You pay a fee and majority of products win some type of award. In the case for the NY WWSC it was $400 per spirit entry and of the 260 spirits entered, 130 won awards.  One of the largest spirits competition is the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the award winning spirits list was over 36 pages long with about 30 entries per page, so well over 1000 "winners" at $475 each.  Balcones "won" seven awards there as well.


This guy. This is the guy who makes whiskey dreams come true.

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