Michigan-based New Holland Distilling Co. was recently awarded “Best of Class – Whiskey,” “Best in Category – Bourbon” and “Double Gold” honors for its Origin Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey at the annual American Distilling Institute (ADI) International Spirits Competition. Founded in 2003, ADI is the oldest and largest craft distillery trade association in the world, representing more than 2250 licensed distilleries.
“The bourbon industry is booming, so the honor of Best in Class by the American Distilling Institute means a lot to the entire New Holland team,” notes Matt Hoeksema, President of New Holland Brewing Company. “Since Origin was released one year ago, the demand has been unrelenting, and we feel that our team has created something quite special.”
Origin has also earned a Double Gold from the New York International Spirits Competition (New Holland Spirits was also named Michigan Bourbon Distillery of the Year), and an Ascot Platinum Award (in addition to a Double Platinum for Bottle Design). These latest ADI accolades have bolstered interest in the already popular and hard-to-find spirit from the state’s oldest whiskey distillery. Using a high-malt mash bill – meaning it uses a higher amount of barley than most bourbons – Origin is distilled in batches of 100 barrels or less in a Prohibition-era pot still. It is then aged for more than five years in first-use American white oak charred barrels, creating fruit-forward flavors and a well-balanced body. This 95-proof spirit has quickly become a favorite among bourbon aficionados.
New Holland Distilling released Origin Small Batch one year ago as their ultra-premium bourbon in the Dragon’s Milk brand portfolio. The Dragon’s Milk brand is most celebrated for its industry-leading bourbon barrel stout, but now has a full portfolio of both bourbon and barrel-aged beer. Dragon’s Milk currently offers five year-round bourbons and a steady assortment of limited-release bottlings. The brand’s most popular product is Beer Barrel Bourbon®, which is distilled and aged in new oak barrels before being finished in their original stout barrels. Other year-round products include Baked Apple Pie Beer Barrel Bourbon, Sweet Heat Beer Barrel Bourbon and S’mores Beer Barrel Bourbon. Limited release spirits include Origin Toasted Barrel (which received two ADI Gold Medals this year and a Gold from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition), Origin Honey Barrel, Origin Bonded and Beer Barrel Bourbon 101. New Holland Distilling has more in the works with plans to launch a new brand of rye, wheat, and single malt whiskeys.
New Holland stands apart from many Michigan distilleries in that it distills 100% of its own whiskey in its Holland production facility, while others choose to source spirits from large industrial out-of-state distilleries and bottle it under a local brand name. Consumers can recognize the difference by reading the fine print on bottle labels – if it states “Distilled by” then rest assured the distillery actually took the time to go through all of the steps to craft the spirit. Any other designation, such as “Bottled by,” “Produced by,” or “Blended by” is an indicator that the spirit was likely produced elsewhere.
“When New Holland Brewing Co. started making spirits in 2005, we embarked on a journey that challenged us and inspired us to find our own path,” says Brett VanderKamp, New Holland CEO. “With our Prohibition-era pot still, we used our ingredients and knowledge of the beer brewing process to create a bourbon that rises above the rest. At New Holland, we’re on a mission to create savored moments for the world and we’ve created a bourbon that does just that.”
Dragon’s Milk Origin is available locally in most bottle shops, Meijer stores and at New Holland’s retail locations in Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, Saugatuck, South Haven, and Holland. It’s also available in select states outside of Michigan, including Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.