IL Corn Sponsors 2023 Competition for Illinois’ Best Whiskey

Lindsay Mitchell

Apr 27, 2023  |  Today's News |  ICMB |  Public Outreach

Craft distilleries in Illinois will once again compete for top honors at a national whiskey tasting competition sponsored by IL Corn Marketing Board. The 2023 Heartland Whiskey Competition is the fourth competition sponsored by state corn marketing associations. Craft spirits is a fast-growing U.S. industry – the number of craft distillers has increased 54% since the inaugural competition in 2016 -- and whiskey is its most popular product.  Most distilleries that produce craft products are family-owned and rely on farmers for a reliable supply of corn to make the mash from which spirits are distilled.


whiskey competitionThis August in St. Louis, the American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) will conduct the 2023 Heartland Whiskey Competition to judge multiple whiskey categories and award a “best of state” trophy to the top-rated whiskey from each sponsored state. Competition is limited to whiskeys that utilize some corn, which is almost all U.S. craft whiskey.  


The 2023 competition will for the first time award a trophy for Top Farmer-Distiller, the top scoring whiskey produced by a distillery whose owner(s) operates a working farm.


Sponsorship from IL Corn makes the state competition possible by providing funds for the competition. The two-day blind judging event will award medals in multiple whiskey categories (e.g., rye, bourbon, bottled in bond). The most coveted medals are for Best of State, the best scoring whiskey across all categories. A Best of Show trophy is also awarded.


“It is important and exciting to recognize distillers, an industry that relies on the corn we grow in Illinois,” stated Jim Reed Chairman of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board. “We’re especially thrilled to acknowledge a Top Farmer Distiller in 2023, a farmer making an impact in their local community while feeding and fueling the world.”


The awards are important for distillers to attract the interest of customers and also distributors who legally market and sell spirits to retailers. In previous competitions, Illinois craft distillers have fared well, earning several medals against a national pool of competitors.  The competition will take place August 2nd and winners will be announced in September.


Distillers can register here to participate.