Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Valentine Distilling Named “Best American Gin Distillery” at Berlin Competition

Liberator Gin & Liberator Old Tom Gin Continue to Win Medals

Detroit-based Valentine Distilling was been named “Best American Gin Distillery” at the Berlin International Spirits Competition held in March in Germany.

Additionally, Valentine’s Liberator Gin and Liberator Old Tom Gin took medals at the competition, which drew close to 200 spirits from 20 countries. Fewer than 35% of the entries received awards. The competition was judged by a hand-selected panel of key trade-only judges—spirits buyers, retail storeowners, restaurant proprietors, spirit distributors and importers that have the unique ability to make a direct impact on sales.

Judges represented world-renowned cocktail establishments such as Schwarze TrMixology Bar (Berlin), Rex Bar & Grill (Sweden), Pollen Social Street (London and Becketts Kopf-Bar (Amsterdam) among others.

The judging took place in the Kempinski Berlin Hotel and awards were given by majority vote. The judges were instructed to grant no awards when, in their opinion, the spirits were not ones they would import, distribute, buy or sell in their business and within the price category.

Since first being introduced in 2013, Valentine Distilling’s gins have continued to garner awards from esteemed international competitions.

The Beverage Tasting Institute this year presented a Gold Medal (with an “Exceptional” rating of 93 points) for the Liberator Old Tom Gin and a Gold Medal (with an “Exceptional” rating of 91 points) for its Liberator Gin during the 2015 International Review of Spirits competition, held in Chicago in April.

The judges described the small-batch Old Tom Gin as possessing “bright amber colors, with bright, fruity, spicy aromas of carrot cake, cedar forest, sassafras, and mixed peppercorns.” The judges continued by attributing the handcraft spirit with producing “a satiny, vibrant, warming and complex finish of cinnamon roll, nutmeg, and cream, with a moderate amount of oak.”

“Old Tom Liberator Gin is an attractive hybrid of a fruity, spicy gin and an American whisky,” says Jerald O’Kennard, Director of “This Old Tom will be fun to experiment with.”

The clear Liberator Gin was found to possess “lively, spicy, fruity aromas of cinnamon carrot cake, orange custard, spiced apples, with floral herbs, and an elegant, white peppered, honeyed tea finish.”

“I am excited to be once again recognized by industry peers as top of the class in world spirit competition,” says founder/distiller Rifino Valentine. “It’s always a good feeling to be recognized by peers in your industry. But, what I am most proud of is that our distillery is able to continue in the tradition of quality Detroit manufacturing, and that we are able to export products that rival anything produced around the world. I’m thankful to have a very dedicated and talented staff who help make this happen.”

The Beverage Tasting Institute was established in 1981 as America’s premier independent alcoholic beverage review organization, and states that its mission was to create fair and reliable reviews of wine and spirits.

In 2014, Liberator Old Tom was named “World’s Best Cask Gin” by the World Gin Awards. This follows on the heels of the traditional Liberator Gin winning “Best in Class” and “Best in Category” – “Best American Gin” – by the American Distilling Institute in 2013.

Aged in American oak barrels for two years, Old Tom Liberator Gin has an aroma of juniper and pine, with hints of oak, woody spices and citrus peel. The initial bursts of juniper berries are mellow and tame, and are followed by touches of vanilla, citrus, cardamom and cinnamon.

“Our goal from the beginning has been to return to the times that America led the world in the manufacturing of quality products,” says Valentine. “What made our economy great was that the highest grade products in the world came from here in the United States. If we are going to make an impact on the US economy in today’s marketplace, we need products that not only compete on a state and national level, but ones that stand up internationally as well. Our philosophy has always been ‘don’t drink Valentine spirits just because they are local – drink them because they are better.’”

“Old Tom Gin” (or “Tom Gin” or “Old Tom”) is a gin recipe popular in 18-century England. In modern times, it became rare but has experienced a resurgence in the craft cocktail movement. It is slightly sweeter than London Dry, but slightly drier than Dutch Jenever, thus is sometimes called “the missing link.” Unlike many gins which are produced in a column still today, Old Tom Gin is provided in a pot still.

Liberator Gin is named in honor of the B-24 Liberator Bomber. Early in World War II, Ford Motor Company built the Willow Run plant near Detroit to produce the B-24 Liberator – cementing Detroit’s nickname as the “arsenal of democracy.” Carefully hand-crafted, this delightfully-unique gin salutes Rosie the Riveter and all the American workers who helped secure victory.

Valentine Distilling launched into the Michigan market in early 2009 and has since been ranked one of the top-rated craft distilleries in the country. Operating out of a 5000-square-foot facility in Ferndale, Valentine Distilling proudly produces its original spirits in two world-class Christian Carl Stills. Valentine Distilling products can currently be found in more than 3000 locations throughout Michigan, Illinois, Tennessee, New York, Maryland, Delaware and Washington DC as well as internationally in Italy, France and Belgium.

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