2 D.C. distillers win awards at national competition

WASHINGTON — Two D.C. distillers came away with big awards from the American Distilling Institute’s 2016 Spirits Competition.

Jos. A. Magnus & Co. won the gold award and best in category for a straight bourbon aged more than five years, along with Best in Class whiskey for its triple-cask finished Joseph Magnus Bourbon.

New Columbia Distillery won a silver award for barrel-aged gin for its Green Hat Fall/Winter gin “Ginavit” XO, along with best of category and the bronze award for a navy-strength gin for its Green Hat Navy Strength Gin.

Twenty-eight judges at this year’s competition evaluated multiple offerings from 645 artisan spirits in a blind tasting.

Jos. A. Magnus & Co. is a 2015 reboot of the original Jos. A. Magnus & Co. that was founded in 1892.

“The 100-year-plus original Magnus bourbon we tasted was an incredible product, and by cask-finishing Joseph Magnus Bourbon the same way Magnus did in the 1890s, we were able to make it a near match to the original. The fact that we won best in class whiskey is a special tribute to Magnus and his amazing spirits,” said Magnus & Co.’s Dave Scheurich.

For New Columbia, a best of category award for its Green Hat Navy Strength Gin was also a confirmation of sorts.

“We wanted to do a traditional English-style gin. They work really well in cocktails. We came up with a really balanced navy strength gin and bartenders in town have taken to it and really like it,” said New Columbia co-founder John Useltom.

New Columbia was founded in 2011 by Useltom, his wife Elizabeth Lowe, Elizabeth’s father Michael Lowe and his wife, Melissa Kroning. When it opened in 2012, it became the District’s first distillery since Prohibition.

Jos. A. Magnus & Co. and New Columbia make their home in the District’s Ivy City, which is home to several distillers.

You can see all of the winners from the American Distilling Institute’s 2016 Spirits Competition here

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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