Awards & Events

American Icons 2008

This edition we present the Icons of Whisky for America.
By Rob Allanson
Where better than to hold an awards lunch to honour our American winners than in bourbon’s heartland,Kentucky.The venue was the wonderful Bourbon’s Bistro in Louisville,and the staff there went above the call of duty to open the restaurant for Whisky Magazine out of hours.The Icons mark a highlight in the whisky calendar and this year is no exception with the quality of companies entering the awards.The Icons of Whisky are designed to celebrate the people and places behind the greatest whiskies in the world.This year’s judging process included regional heats in the United States,Canada, Japan, Ireland and Scotland.The winners of the regional icons will now go forward to the final world Icons which will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Café Royal, London,28th Feburary 2008, held to mark the opening of Whisky Live London.Here we present the winners from the United States.It has to be said to make it to the short list is a tremendous honour as in many categories there was some stiff competition.DISTILLER OF THE YEAR WINNER
Brown Forman
For its unwavering support of two distinctly different whiskies.The huge global phenomenon that is Jack Daniel’s, and at the other end of the scale the boutique creation of Woodford Reserve.HIGHLY COMMENDED
Maker’s Mark
The fruits of many months of hard work and a $2.5million has created a stunning visitor centre with some great interactive features.Using an innovative audio and visual display in the bottling hall, talking pictures in the distiller’s house and a period kitchen that Mrs Samuels would recognise has created a relaxed, informative showcase for this distinctive brand.HIGHLY COMMENDED
deSha’s Restaurant and Bar, Louisville,Kentucky For its whisky promotions, staff training and a great bourbon collection which is available to beginners and aficionados alike.HIGHLY COMMENDED Bourbon’s Bistro Louisville,Kentucky RETAILER OF THE YEAR (SINGLE OUTLET) WINNER
LeNells,NewYork LeNell preaches the gospel of American whiskey all over the world, including giving seminars at events such as Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and at shows such as Berlin Bar Convent.She trains bar/restaurant staff on whiskey and whiskey cocktails She spends an incredible amount of time training staff so that customers can be given the best advice and care.HIGHLY COMMENDED
Park Avenue Liquors,New York ALSO NOMINATED Federal Wines & Spirits,Boston RETAILER OF THE YEAR (MULTIPLE OUTLETS) WINNER
Binny’s,Chicago For consistently promoting all types of whisky through its outlets and continually doing its best to bring premium whisky to public INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR WINNER Four Roses For setting the benchmark this year with its uncut and unfiltered single barrel bourbon, a one off release with a high rye content and less that 1,500 bottles.Since 2002 it has fought back from the brink winning drinkers over to its brand and helping the bourbon explosion across the globe.HIGHLY COMMENDED
Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey ALSO NOMINATED
Jim Rutledge,Four Roses Having reached his 40th anniversary with the distillery and single handedly relaunching Four Roses in Kentucky and reviving the brand.As an executive director of the Bourbon Festival and his many years in the industry, he has been a passionate, vocal and unwavering supporter of bourbon for four decades now.HIGHLY COMMENDED
Chris Morris,Woodford Reserve ALSO NOMINATED
Pam Gover,Kentucky Bourbon Festival executive director Dave Pickerell,Maker’s Mark Bill Samuels,Maker’s Mark