Boot Hill Distillery’s vodka was nationally recognized at the American Craft Spirits Association's 4th Annual Distillers Convention and Vendor Trade Show in Nashville, Tenneessee.

Since their grand opening in August, Boot Hill Distillery has provided a wide array of unique spirits to the Dodge City community. On Friday, Boot Hill Distillery’s vodka was nationally recognized at the American Craft Spirits Association's 4th Annual Distillers Convention and Vendor Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn.

This two-day convention is held every year to educate distillers and brewers on new and changing ideas within the industry as well as provide peer evaluation on a distiller/brewer’s product. 

“We did end up bringing home a bronze medal for our vodka which we are very very proud of,” said director of marketing at the Boot Hill Distillery Mark Vierthaler. “Being able to meet with our peers, get lots of information, get training on things that maybe we don’t know about or get a deeper understanding on things we do was definitely the big driver.”

There were multiple educational sessions offered at the convention. Vierthaler, along with Boot Hill Distillery CEO Hayes Kelman and room tasting manager Mauricio Leautaud attended these educational sessions.

“The three of us were able to break into the three different tracks over the course of three days and really bring in a lot of education,” said Vierthaler. “Just some technical training, ways to better improve fermentation. It was really good to get out and of course meet with other distillers and get some deeper understandings. There’s always advantages to going to conventions like these because there’s time where you go ‘wow, I learned something that I can bring home,’ and we can definitely use that to help constantly improve our products.

“Sometimes you go to things like that and you go ‘okay cool, so what we’re doing is right.’ If nothing else, it’s good to talk to distillers and know that the problems that you have are problems that a lot of other distillers are having too,” he noted.

Vierthaler stated that the number one reason they attended this competition was to gain knowledge on their current distilling habits.

“One of the big things that we’re big believers in here at the distillery is there’s no such things as a perfect product. The number one reason we went is because we want to constantly be working towards offering the highest quality spirits out of Boot Hill Distillery, and one of the ways you do that is constant extra education,” said Vierthaler. “Another thing was the camaraderie of it all. The craft distilling industry is still a small industry, especially in Kansas where we’re so far spread out, just the opportunity to meet with people who do the same thing we do but all across the country. Just a great chance to bring the industry together.”

This is a major accomplishment for the distillery because of how new the distillery is, according to Vierthaler.

“It’s one of those things where we know that our vodka is really good and we’re really proud of our vodka, so it’s very flattering to have your peers also agree with you,” said Vierthaler. “Considering how young of a distillery we are, we’ve really only had distillery production going on for about 6 months now, so to be recognized on a national level by other distilleries is a pretty huge honor.”

This also marks Vierthaler’s first time attending a distilling convention.

“This was my personal first one,” said Vierthaler. “Hayes has gone to several prior to the distillery officially opening in stores so he could get his training beforehand of what we were going into, but it was my number one.”

After a successful first year at the ACSA Distillers Convention and Vendor Trade Show, the staff at Boot Hill Distillery plan on going for the gold next year.

“Our goal now is to get the gold,” Vierthaler stated. “We’re okay and we’re on track and now we’ll keep pushing so we can get that gold and best of show.”

Vierthaler expressed gratitude toward the community for supporting the distillery. 

“We always like to thank everyone for the support they’ve given the distillery and the great feedback they’ve given. “It’s been a community effort and we’ve had a lot of great support and well wishes since we won the award,” he stated. “We would just like to encourage people if they haven’t come in yet, we’d love to have them come through and get them a sample and get some feedback on the new stuff and the old stuff.”

Vierthaler stated that the Boot Hill Distillery will be attending the ACSA convention next year in Philadelphia. Dates have not been set yet.