Craft distilleries have their work cut out for them. The bigger guys have deep pools of marketing dollars, the economy of scale, and global brand teams slapping their name on damn near everything. But, what some of these local distilleries have is something to lose. They have to fight for each ounce of media coverage, build a local community that supports them, and put forward their very best every day.
That’s what Tarpon Springs Distillery does, and it just earned them a Double Gold from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition with their first-ever aged whiskey entry, Gramling Woods. The best part? They just released this expression last winter in hyper-limited quantities for the first time.
Gramling Woods is a malt rye whiskey, a category that is tricky as there needs to be a nice balance between the heavy flavor profiles. However, Tarpon Springs came out of the gate swinging on this one.
The whiskey’s mash bill consists of malted rye, pecan-smoked barley, and malted corn. The flavor profile is simple, straightforward, and elegant. Strong notes of caramel cream, smoked maple syrup, torched brown sugar, vanilla cream, rosehip, and light tobacco.
“We are honored to receive such a prestigious award from the largest spirits competition in America,” said co-owner and Master Distiller Barry Butler. “When my wife, Lisa, and I started Tarpon Springs Distillery, we wanted to focus on making the absolute best spirits possible, do everything in-house, and not cut any corners. This award validates our strategy and all the hard work our team has put in.”
Barry has told us before that his primary focus with the distillery is to make the best spirits he physically can. It’s a humble endeavor that carries with it an incredible workload. We’ve seen just how involved he and his team are in every step of the process. Each member takes pride in what they do and proudly holds out the fruits of their effort to those who love delicious craft spirits.
They make some traditional spirits, like gin, moonshine, and whiskey. But, they also make some other, more specialized and historic spirits like Greek Ouzo, Aquavit, and even a smoked mullet gin that is surprisingly delicious. You can see their spirits list by clicking here.
If you haven’t checked out Tarpon Springs, you can click here to learn more about them and their journey.
Greg Sinadinos started his spirits journey writing a whiskey periodical for Fine Tobacco NYC Magazine. He began answering review requests under a social media page he named “Whiskey Culture,” which quickly merged with Greg’s passion for connecting with others and his interest in history.
Today, Greg travels the country not just looking for great whiskey, but also exploring the history and individuals that the whiskey community is founded upon. He has authored “Whiskey History From Around The World” and is the host of “The Rickhouse” web series.