Virginia’s Award-Winning Craft Beverages

by Casey Higgins | Posted: Oct 23, 2014 | Updated: Apr 16, 2018

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The wine, craft beer and spirit industries continue to swell in Virginia, and with so many offerings, how do you know where to start? Perhaps the beginning of a tasty relationship is with the award winners. From there, you’ll know the industry standard of a fine craft beverage and your palate will be better prepared to lead you to more. Additionally, it’s most helpful to your craft beverage growth if you understand what you’re tasting. Make it a point to actually visit the winery, brewery or distillery to receive the educational component of craft tasting.



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The 2017 Great American Beer Festival wrapped in early October and Virginia brewers brought home well-deserved hardware.

Silver – American Stout: Wild Wolf Brewing Co., Nellysford

Bronze – Powers of Observation: Ocelot Brewing Co., Dulles

– Gold – Mermaid’s Scorn: Benchtop Brewing Co., Norfolk

– Silver – The Ferguson: Studio Brew, Bristol

See a list of previous GABF and 2016 World Beer Cup award winners.



Barboursville Vineyards' Winemaker Luca Paschina pours Octagon samples for tasting room visitors.

Barboursville Vineyards’ Winemaker Luca Paschina pours Octagon samples for tasting room visitors.

— WINE —

The 2017 Virginia Governor’s Cup has been called “one of the most stringent competitions in the US,” and in 2017, more than 490 Virginia wines were sampled by a panel of 40 world-class judges. The wines were rated based on the 100-point Wine Spectator scale; the top 12 wines are then showcased in the Governor’s Case as the best of Virginia.

2017 Governor’s Case

– Barboursville Vineyards‘ 2013 Paxxito

Breaux Vineyards‘ 2012 Meritage

King Family Vineyards‘ 2014 Loreley & 2014 Petit Verdot

Veritas Vineyard &  Winery‘s 2014 Petit Manseng & 2014 Petit Verdot Paul Shaffer 6th Edition

Ingleside Vineyards‘ 2014 Petit Verdot

Michael Shaps Wineworks‘ 2014 Meritage

Jefferson Vineyards‘ 2014 Petit Verdot

Horton Vineyards‘ 2015 Viognier

Valley Road Vineyards‘ 2014 Petit Verdot


Six additional wineries received gold medals for their entries:

– CrossKeys Vineyards

– Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery

– Pollak Vineyards

– Sunset Hills Vineyard

– The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards

– Upper Shirley Vineyards

See the list of silver and bronze medal winners.

Upper Shirley Vineyards

Upper Shirley Vineyards



The 11th Annual Judging of Craft Spirits was conducted by the American Distilling Institute in April 2017. Spirits have been growing steadily in Virginia, and our distillers are showing their skill in the area, bringing home much-deserved medals.

Appalachian Mountain Spirits' Virginia Sweetwater Distillery. Photo by Jason Barnette.

Appalachian Mountain Spirits’ Virginia Sweetwater Distillery. Photo by Jason Barnette.

Virginia Distillery Co. was award a silver medal for their Virginia Highland Malt Whisky.

Belle Isle Craft Spirits won both a silver medal and a “Best of Category” win for their Premium Moonshine, and a Bronze Medal for their Cold Brew Coffee Moonshine.

Belmont Farm Distillery won both a silver medal and a “Best of Category” for their Kopper Kettle Dark Chai Spiced Rum.

KO Distilling was awarded a bronze medal for their Bare Knuckle American Wheat Whiskey.

Murlarkey Distilled Spirits won a gold medal for their Divine Clarity Vodka. They also won bronze medals for their Imagination Gin, Justice White Whiskey, Brutality Special Reserve Single Barrel Battle Strength Whiskey, and their Cincerity Whiskey with All Natural Cinnamon Flavor.

Reservoir Distillery brought home a silver medal for their Rye Whiskey and a bronze medal for their bourbon.

The Ironclad Distillery Co. won a bronze medal for their Bourbon.

Vitae Spirits Distillery was awarded bronze medals for their Modern Gin, Golden Rum, and Platinum Rum.

Williamsburg Distillery won both a gold medal and a “Best of Category” award for their Jamestown Gin.



Virginia Wine | Virginia Craft Beer | Virginia Spirits



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