Southern Distilling Company

Pete Barger and Vienna Barger co-founded the distillery in 2013. Photo courtesy of Southern Distilling Company

STATESVILLE – A new-to-market wheated straight bourbon whiskey from Southern Distilling Company has triumphed on an international stage, taking top honors at the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition.

Southern Distilling Company’s Southern Star Paragon Cask Strength Single Barrel Wheated Straight Bourbon Whiskey was recognized as Best In Class (Best Single Barrel Bourbon Up to10 Years) and Best Overall Bourbon out of a field of more than 650 spirits.

“This is a wonderful win for Southern Distilling Company,” said Vienna Barger, who co-founded the distillery in 2013 with her husband and business partner Pete Barger. “We love wheated bourbons and chose this mash bill as the first one to distill at our facility. As it reached five years in the barrel and was ready to bottle this year, we were very eager to hear what industry judges had to say about what we believed was an extraordinary bourbon.“

Southern Star Paragon Cask Strength Single Barrel Wheated Straight Bourbon Whiskey has a mash bill of 70% corn, 16% wheat, and 14% malted barley. The barrel was bottled as-is at a cask strength of 116 proof.

The double-gold winning Bourbon Southern Star Paragon Cask Strength Single Barrel is described by a judge with these tasting notes: “The nose opens with a sense of orange blossoms and apple orchard with a hint of pear and plum next to walnut shells, old honey bottles, and rich vanilla sauce with a hint of poppy seed ... The end leaves the spice and warmth behind for smooth vanilla walnut cake with a hint of apple-honey tobacco wrapped up with old cedar bark.”

The New York World Wine & Spirits Competition is part of The Tasting Alliance, which oversees numerous competitions and events including the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. Panels of judges taste pours double-blind, meaning all judges unanimously and anonymously gave that pour a gold medal, and then it is moved to the best in show round.

Southern Star Paragon Cask Strength Single Barrel took top honors in the finals too, joining brands like Uncle Nearest, W. L. Weller and Blanton’s in the elite winners category, as well as being pronounced Best in Class (Single Barrel Bourbon under 10 years) and Best OverallBourbon.

“This North Carolina Bourbon is starting to make some serious waves,” Zach Johnston, Uproxx Life Drinks Editor and New York World Wine & Spirits Competition judge, wrote in an article summarizing the event. “This was freakin’ delicious. If you can get your hand on a bottle, buy two.”

Southern Distilling co-founder Pete Barger said the company sets out to produce world-class bourbons and rye whiskeys. Barger said they are excited about the recognition and sharing Southern Star with the world.

Southern Distilling Company is rapidly expanding its national and global distribution footprint. Southern Star products are now available in 20 states.

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