Niagara-on-the-Lake distillery students collect three medals at U.S Open


Published May 16, 2023 at 1:51 pm

Niagara College distillers David Dickson and Ian Bickle hold bottles of the school’s 2023 medal-winning spirits from the U.S. Open Whisky and Spirits Championship. (Photo: Niagara College)

The Niagara College’s Teaching Distillery on the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus just keeps bring home the hardware as they collected two silvers and a bronze at the 2023 U.S. Open Whisky and Spirits Championship.

Silver medals were awarded for Spirits 101 Single Malt Whisky (Canadian Whisky category) and Spirits 101 Spiced Rum (Rum Spiced/Flavoured category) while School Spirits Vodka (Vodka category) won bronze.

“Winning three international awards shows that our Teaching Distillery produces some of the best craft spirits in the world,” said Steve Gill, General Manager of Niagara College’s Learning Enterprises.

“We are so proud of our students who are involved with the making of all of our premium spirits, with instruction and guidance from our expert distillers and faculty.”

School Spirts Vodka and Single Malt Whisky are from the Teaching Distillery’s core line of spirits, made with student involvement while Spiced Rum launched as a student capstone project.

Head Distiller David Dickson noted that winning awards is even more impressive when considering that most students begin the one-year Artisan Distilling program with little or no distilling experience.

“It feels like a validation of what we are teaching the students in the program and the Teaching Distillery, as well as the students’ capabilities for the future, when entering the workforce,” said Dickson.

As well as the triple-medal performance, 2023 distillery graduates have also released five brand new products up for sale at the college’s Wine Visitor + Education Centre (135 Taylor Rd.) in Niagara-on the Lake.

The new releases include Mediterranean Vodka (with fresh lemon peel, picked basil and mint, coriander seed and a touch of fennel seed), Tanzanite Gin (a gin with butterfly pea flower, giving it its purple-blue colour), Class Amigos Agave (a tequila-style spirit), Fruit and Honey Fusion (a spirit using college-made honey from the Commercial Beekeeping program) and Eastern Hospitality (a rice-based grain spirit with inspiration from Japanese shochu).

School Spirits Vodka won a bronze at the 2023 U.S. Open Whisky and Spirits Championship while Spirits 101 Single Malt Whisky and Spirits 101 Spiced Rum both won silver medals. 

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