Last Saturday’s Still on the Hill — the premiere competitive event in Colorado distilling — featured 35 craft-spirits makers pouring and competing before a sold-out grand tasting. But it wasn’t just good public exposure for participants like Distillery 291, 3 Hundred Days of Shine, Axe and the Oak Distillery, and Lee Spirits Co. It was also a chance to see what the experts think of their drinks.
Turns out Colorado Springs is kicking ass.
“The spirits were judged in a double blind taste test by an esteemed panel of industry experts,” reads a release from the Breckenridge Restaurant Association. “The panel bestowed two Double-Gold, fifteen Gold and fifteen Silver judgments. The awards were based on the quality of each spirit with regard to taste, smell, integrity and smoothness and not as a ranking of spirits against one another.”
In an impressive showing, Distillery 291 took the overall People’s Choice Award, voted on with tokens by attendees. It also won a gold for its bourbon.
Lee Spirits won a gold for its dry gin, and Axe and the Oak won silver for its whiskey.
“It’s very exciting,” says Axe and the Oak operations manager Casey Ross in an interview with the Report. “We’ve taken a silver in Denver International Spirit Competition and we’ve taken a silver in the North American Bourbon and Whiskey Competition.
“So, this one was great because it was mainly Colorado. There was a couple outsiders, like the Santa Fe distillery down in New Mexico. But it was just really cool. We’re good friends with Lee Spirits, we’re good friends with 291, and it was just really cool that Colorado Springs killed it. We did great. It was fantastic.”