The 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition awarded a Gold Medal and four Silver Medals to Star Union Spirits in Peru.
Since its introduction in 2000, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition has become one of the most respected and influential spirits competitions in the world. The awards are one of the most reliable and universal indications of spirits excellence.
The Star Union Spirits Whiskeys that were honored by the judging were the 75-25 Light Whiskey, winning a Gold Medal, and the American Corn Series Apple Brandy Barrel Light Whiskey, taking home a Silver Medal. Star Union Spirits repeated wins with two Double Gold awards for its Navy Strength Dark Rum and Reserve Rum and Gold Medal for its Rested Agave in the 2021 competition. Star Union Spirits Aged Brandies and Rums also brought home five Silver Medals in 2021.
Throughout four days of highly-controlled blind tastings, the judging panels taste every product to decide if it is medal-worthy. Judges do not receive any information on producer or price point, ensuring each spirit is judged fairly, equally, and without bias. Gold Medals are exceptional spirits that are near the pinnacle of achievement; these products set the standard for their categories. Silver Medals are outstanding spirits that show refinement, finesse, and complexity; these winners are among the best examples of their categories.
Star Union Spirits Gold Medal Winner, the 75-25 Light Whiskey name refers to the mash bill of 75% corn and 25% rye. The 75-25 Light Whiskey was aged in an American Oak charred barrel and was bottled at 107 proof/53.5 ABV. Light Whiskey is a mostly forgotten whiskey category that came into existence in 1968. Light whiskey is a grain-based spirit produced in the U.S. at more than 80% alcohol by volume (160 proof) (but less than 95% alcohol by volume (190 proof)). The Light Whiskey category went out of relevance with the bourbon resurgence in the last 20 years but has made a comeback with some new craft spirit distilling techniques, innovative aging processes, and resting barrels that have been rediscovered.
The Light Whiskey category designation has no bearing on flavor or quality. The designation is different from other types of whiskeys and embraces the heart of the craft movement. Craft distillers are now embracing nuances in different styles of whiskeys that have gone out of vogue because of misconceptions of misleading connotations but have been brought back because of redeeming qualities that have been previously overlooked.
Star Union Spirits Silver Medal Winner, the American Corn Series Light Whiskey aged in an apple brandy barrel is made from 90% corn, rye, and malted barley and then aged for one year in used Star Union Spirits toasted oak brandy barrels.
Each American Corn Series Light Whiskey bottle proof is 100 proof/50% ABV. Star Union Spirits uses its Brandy barrels as part of its sustainability initiatives and embraces locally grown Illinois corn. The brandy barrels give the corn-forward flavor of the Light Whiskey a chance to highlight the lineage of the barrel. Star Union Spirits American Corn Series uses Cabernet Sauvignon brandy, cherry brandy and apple brandy barrels. The American Corn Series Apple Brandy Barrel was entered as a complement to the Star Union Spirits Apple Brandy, which was also awarded a Silver Medal at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Star Union Spirits was established by winemakers, Jeff Yosowitz and Bob Windy as a small craft distillery in Peru, at the Westclox building. Star Union Spirits opened to the public in November 2018. Casey Beall joined the Star Union Spirits team as its distiller and production manager in early 2019, adding experience, depth, and insight to its robust portfolio of award-winning spirits.