Eastern Kille wins two awards at World Spirits Competition

Eastern Kille Distillery’s bottled-in-bond bourbon earned a gold award. Courtesy Eastern Kille

A West Michigan distiller earned top honors at a global competition.

Grand Rapids-based Eastern Kille Distillery competed for the first time in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and won awards for both of its entries.

The distillery earned a gold award for its four-year bottled-in-bond bourbon and a silver award for its four-year aged rum.

“We are proud to receive recognition from San Francisco, which is widely regarded as the most important spirits competition in the world, for our bottled-in-bond bourbon,” said Steve Vander Pol, co-founder of Eastern Kille Distillery. “This gold award represents over four years of a truly craft process; the process we founded our distillery on.”

Over 40 judges split among tables or panels, sampled 3,000 spirits at the 20th annual spirits competition.

Bottled-in-bond is a consumer protection law that dates back to the 1800s. The designation mandates the spirit must be aged for at least four years and bottled at precisely 100 proof or 50% ABV. It must be made by one distiller at a single distillery in one season and then aged in a bonded warehouse.

This is the first bottled-in-bond bourbon Eastern Kille released. It was aged for four years and 14 days and produced 234 bottles, which sold out the day it was released March 17.

Another small batch of bottled in bond will be released in October 2020, and it will hit store shelves in summer 2021.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Eastern Kille is offering to-go bottles and cocktail kits. Like many other distilleries across the state, it also has shifted production to hand sanitizer in the short term.

Ten bottles of the first batch of bottled-in-bond are being held for when the tasting room reopens.

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