American Distilling Institute Awards 28 Medals to Indiana Distilleries

American Distilling Institute Awards 28 Medals to Indiana Distilleries

by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap with press releases

The American Distilling Institute started awarding medals for spirits in 2007, and their competition has grown into one of the larger events in the world. The 2024 edition of the contest took place recently, and medalists were announced today (May 8). A total of 868 medals were awarded from all 50 states, which would mean that the average state had 17 medals awarded. However, as with craft beer medals, Indiana always goes above and beyond. In this case, Indiana distilleries were awarded an amazing 28 medals.

A great combination of established and new distilleries won medals. Newer distilleries winning awards included Dragon’s Mouth Distillery in Elkhart, Fenwicks Distillery in Rensselaer, and Hatfields & Son’s Distilling in Fort Wayne. Well known distilleries that won medals included Copper Forge Distilling in Fort Wayne, 18th Street Distillery in Hammond, West Fork Whiskey in Indianapolis, Starlight Distillery in Borden, Hotel Tango Distillery from Indianapolis, and 15 Stars Bourbon, a bottler/blender based in Indiana.

image credit ADI and Fenwicks Distillery

You can read about the American Distilling Institute and their full list of winners here, but we should point out the specific awards given to Indiana distillers, especially those who won best of category and gold medals. After that listing and description, you can read the press releases we received from some of the winners.

15 Stars Bourbon – 6 medals (2 silver, 3 bronze, 1 Best of Category). Their Best of Category medal was the First West Rye Batch 2-SSDD in the blended rye whiskey category.
18th Street Distillery – 7 medals (1 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze, 1 bronze in best packaging, and 1 best of Category). The gold medal and Best of Category went to their 3 year Straight Barrel Aged Rum in the overproof rum group.
Copper Forge Distilling – 2 medals (1 gold and 1 silver). Their gold medalist was their Peppermint Schnapps in the herbal/botanical/spice liqueur category.
Dragon’s Mouth Distillery – 3 medals (2 bronzes and 1 bronze for Best Packaging)
Fenwicks Distillery – 1 medal (gold). The top winner was their 1816 Indiana Rye in the rye whiskey group.
Hatfield & Sons Distilling – 1 medal (silver)
Hotel Tango Distillery – 1 medal, a silver in Best Packaging for Shmallow.
Starlight Distillery – 4 medals (1 gold, 2 silver, and 1 Best of category). Their gold and best of category medals were for their Estate Bottled-in-Bond Apple Brandy in the Apple Brandy category, a quintessential Indiana grouping.
West Fork Whiskey – 3 medals (1 gold, 2 silver). West Fork’s gold medal winner was their Hugh Hamer Straight Bourbon, Rum Finish in the bourbon category.

image credit: Dragon’s Mouth Distillery

Just a bit more information on some of our new distillery winners would include that Fenwicks Distilling’s gold was with a completely Indiana product – Indiana rye whiskey (all Indiana product, high rye), and that one of Dragon’s Mouth Distillery’s bronze medal was for a Japanese Whiskey, a rarer product for sure (and I love that label).

Here are the press releases I received:

Dragon’s Mouth Distillery Blooms with Triple Bronze at The American Distillers Institute International Spirits Competition!
Elkhart, Indiana (May 8, 2024): Step aside spirit snoozers, because Dragon’s Mouth Distillery is here to prove that exquisite taste can be as vibrant as a rare orchid. We’re blossoming with award-winning glory after this year’s American Distillers Institute International Spirits Competition, where Dragon’s Mouth snagged not one, not two, but THREE bronze medals!

Undoubtedly, the current market overflows with unremarkable spirits. We, however, offer a symphony of flavor that has garnered critical acclaim.  Behold, our triumphant trio:

  • Agave Silver’s Searing Sophistication: Our Agave Silver snagged bronze, a testament to its smooth, yet subtle pepper profile.
  • Onna Bugeisha’s Warrior Spirit: Onna Bugeisha Whiskey earned a bronze medal, proving that female warriors come in all forms – even bottled ones!
  • A Label Worthy of an Orchid: Onna Bugeisha’s stunning design wasn’t just for show – it grabbed a bronze medal too, because presentation matters, darling!

“As a restaurateur, I understand the dedication and craftsmanship it takes to produce exceptional spirits.  The recent ADI International Spirits Competition awards bestowed upon Dragon’s Mouth Distillery are a true testament to their commitment to quality.  Their products consistently elevate our cocktail program, and we look forward to showcasing their award-winning spirits to our discerning clientele.  Congratulations to Carrie and Dragon’s Mouth Distillery!” – Marsha Gill-Dunker, Owner, Fireside Craft Burgers and Brews.

Carrie Ford, President and Head Distiller at Dragon’s Mouth Distillery, couldn’t be more thrilled: “These awards are a beautiful validation of the dedication and passion we pour into every bottle. But let’s be honest, the real winners are you, the adventurous drinkers who crave something more than your average grocery store hooch. Get ready to experience the Dragon’s Mouth difference!”

Can your taste buds handle the explosion of flavor? Our award-winning spirits are a symphony of bold notes waiting to be discovered! Just a click away lies a world of pure delight.  So, what are you waiting for? Embark on a flavor adventure and find your happy place!

About Dragon’s Mouth Distillery: Dragon’s Mouth Distillery is a renegade in the world of spirits, crafting unique and flavorful spirits for those who crave a taste as vibrant as the rare orchid our name evokes. We don’t settle for the ordinary, and neither should you. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on social media.

Fenwick’s Distillery Recognized with Gold Medal for 1816 Indiana Rye
(Rensselaer, IN, 05/08/2024) – Fenwick’s Distillery, renowned for its commitment to crafting exceptional spirits, is delighted to announce that its distinguished whiskey, 1816 Indiana Rye, has been honored with the esteemed Gold Medal by the American Distilling Institute’s International Spirits Competition. This accolade reaffirms Fenwick’s dedication to producing high-quality whiskey that delights connoisseurs and aficionados worldwide.

1816 Indiana Rye has captivated the palates of whiskey enthusiasts described by judges as “dried nuts, light syrup, candy coating on the nose; flavor has a lot of fun bite to it with great spikes of flavor representing the sweetness of an aged spirit and the typical herbal profile of a great rye.” This award serves as a testament to the craftsmanship and expertise of our team, who meticulously craft each batch to perfection.

“We are incredibly honored to receive the gold medal for 1816 Indiana Rye,” said Kenny VanHouten, co-owner at Fenwick’s Distillery. “This recognition not only reflects the superior quality and exceptional taste of our whiskey but also underscores our unwavering commitment to excellence in every bottle we produce.”

1816 Indiana Rye meets the requirements of Indiana Legislature as outlined in IC 7.1-3-28-1 of “Indiana Rye Whiskey” stated below:

  1. ManufacturedinIndiana;
  2. Produced with a mash bill that is at least fifty-one percent (51%) rye;
  3. Distilled to not more than one hundred sixty (160) proof or eighty percent (80%) alcohol by


  1. Aged in new, charred white oak barrels;
  2. Placed in a barrel at not more than one hundred twenty-five (125 proof) or sixty-two and

one-half percent (62 1⁄2%) alcohol by volume;

  1. Restedinarackhouseforatleasttwo(2)yearsinIndiana;and
  2. Bottled at not less than eighty (80) proof or forty percent (40%) alcohol by volume.

 Fenwick’s is dedicated to delighting whiskey enthusiasts with unparalleled taste experiences to elevate the moments you enjoy them in. With the Gold Medal in hand, we are more inspired than ever to continue pushing the boundaries of whiskey craftmanship and delivering exceptional spirits that captivate the senses.

We invite you to embrace the tales of Prohibition-era bootleggers, the spirited resilience of the Hoosier State, and the enduring traditions that stand the test of time. 1816 Indiana Rye is history in a bottle. We’ve made something unique to the state of Indiana that’s worthy of sharing, worthy of conversations, and worth collecting.

For more information about 1816 Indiana Rye and where you can locate it for sale, please visit

West Fork Whiskey Co. Celebrates Multiple Wins at ADI’s 2024 International Spirits Competition
Hugh Hamer Straight Bourbon Rum Finish wins GOLD
CENTRAL INDIANA (May 8, 2024, 8:00 AM EDT) – West Fork Whiskey Co. is thrilled to announce its successful performance at the prestigious American Distilling Institute’s (ADI) 2024 International Spirits Competition. The accolades underline the company’s commitment to crafting superior quality spirits with a unique Indiana signature.

West Fork Whiskey Co. earned a coveted Gold Medal for its Hugh Hamer Straight Bourbon Rum Finish (103 proof), a testament to its innovative aging process and exceptional flavor profile.

The company also secured two Silver Medals: one for the Hugh Hamer Straight Bourbon Double Oak (103 proof), recognized for its complex, layered flavors, and another for the Old Hamer Straight Bourbon Cask Strength, praised for its bold and robust taste.

“We are immensely proud of our team’s dedication and the craftsmanship that went into achieving these honors,” said Blake Jones, Co-CEO at West Fork Whiskey Co. “These awards are not only a recognition of our passion for distilling but also an affirmation of Indiana’s growing prominence in the whiskey world.”

In celebration of these achievements, West Fork Whiskey Co. will participate in ADI’s 2024 conference in Baltimore, MD, where it looks forward to connecting with other industry leaders and sharing its award-winning spirits.

West Fork Whiskey Co. is committed to continuing its tradition of excellence and innovation in distilling.

Awards are great to amplify & reinforce our whiskey amongst our competitors & the greater distilling community, we know we are never done winning the hearts, minds & palates of our consumers and driving towards being the brand that they inspire us to be.

About West Fork Whiskey Co.: Established in 2015, West Fork Whiskey Co. distills and produces high-quality, approachable craft whiskeys and bourbons, always with as many local ingredients as possible. Their Westfield location houses a family friendly restaurant, a 21+ cocktail lounge, an event center, an education facility, and dramatically increased production equipment. The distillery’s Indianapolis tasting room and distillery is open six days a week offering a full cocktail menu, bottle carryout, tours, and special events. For more information, please visit

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