When facing a job, there is the age-old question of doing something quickly or doing something right. For Cut Spike Distillery, there’s only one option.
After years of preparation — and waiting — Cut Spike’s single-malt whiskey took home the Double Gold award from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition on Wednesday, the highest award given in the international competition.
“Everyone here has been very excited about it,” Distillery Manager Addie Neman said. “The whiskey has been a long road.”
The sister company of La Vista’s Lucky Bucket Brewing Company released the whiskey last August, being the first single-malt whiskey made in the state.
“The definition of single-malt itself is that it’s distilled here, in house,” Neman said.
After brewing the wash and distilling the spirit, the whiskey is set in barrels to age.
“For two years, it just sits in the barrels,” she said. “Just waiting.”
Neman said this waiting period is important though, with absolutely no tampering with the whiskey to speed up the aging process.
“We always look at it as: no matter what, this is a product we’ll be proud of,” she said.
And having Cut Spike’s first barrels receiving global recognition definitely has given the company pride in its work.
“It shows our commitment to making a quality product and doing what it takes to make the product,” she said.
Neman said it also shows the dedication of Master Distiller Mike Cunningham and company President Jason Payne, as the company surpassed many major distilleries, such as Kentucky-based Bulleit or Templeton Rye of Templeton, Iowa.
“It was an honor to see us placed with them, and beat them,” she said, adding Cut Spike still looks up to these major brands.
Neman said the competition was at its largest year, with more than 1,400 entries from 63 countries. She said Cut Spike is thrilled to be able to represent Nebraska and La Vista on a global stage, especially as the community and the state have risen up to support and embrace the local, independent brewery and distillery.
As for what lies beyond the horizon on the long road Cut Spike walks, Neman said the company hopes to expand in the future as well as release another new product, an aged rum, later this year.
“Who knows from there?” she said. “Right now, we’ll continue to do what we can with what we have.”