Last year Fat City called locally crafted Honor Vodka the wasabi of vodka and said it was "like swallowing a swath of silk with a torch tied to the end." Both comments were meant as compliments and it turns out real vodka judges agree. Lawrence-distilled Honor Vodka won a silver medal last week at the World Spirits Competition in San Francisco, a blind-tasting where big and small companies compete directly against each other.
The competition may not be a household name but carries a lot of weight among retailers and restaurants who count on the judges to pick spirits their customers will like. Out of the 84 vodkas submitted from around the world, Honor Vodka received the third-highest honors. (The highest award is double-gold and second is gold.)
Honor co-founder Josh Burnett said it was the first competition the company has entered at any level. "We wanted to see how we would do against international competition and for public awareness... I was very happy to win silver. It would have been great to get a gold but look at Stoli, the best-selling vodka in the world -- we tied them. If you can tie the best-selling vodka in the world that's special."
Burnett said that neither he nor other Honor founder Cory Brock went to the competition because they are too busy here. They're trying to expand distribution into Oklahoma, Nebraska and Iowa. "We started small out of the gate but we're looking to expand... this award will help our distributors sell our product better."
Currently, Honor Vodka is available statewide in Kansas and in many parts of Missouri, including most liquor stores in Kansas City. It retails for around $19, significantly cheaper than other silver medalists like the $35 Chopin or $50 Crystal-Head.