The Honey20: #10 to #6

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The National Honey Board is proud to announce the Honey20, a list of made with honey alcoholic beverages that have impacted our drinking experiences for the last 200+ years. View past installments of the Honey20.

We enter the top 10 with some heavy hitters in the spirits and beer industry, including the first foray into honey whiskey, which proved about 30 years ahead of its time. We also have our first (and only) spirit distilled 100% from honey. This new style of spirit is slowly gaining traction among distillers for its ability to produce some amazingly aromatic neutral spirits.

If you have any comments about our selections (we know you will), we’d love to hear them at [email protected].


#10. Barr Hill Vodka

Caledonia Spirits, Montpelier, Vermont

Vodka in the top 10 of the Honey20 may be surprising, especially considering the word “honey” isn’t even in the name of the product. However, this isn’t an ordinary vodka. In fact, many in the spirits industry may question whether it’s vodka at all because it’s distilled entirely from honey. Distilling spirits from honey is a growing category, and Caledonia Spirits’ Barr Hill brand is leading the field both in quality and brand recognition from mixologists. This neutral spirit is not sweet, but its aromatics are reminiscent of walking through a field of wildflowers. According to the distiller, the key to the recipe is never heating the honey prior to fermentation and never distilling it more than twice. This technique preserves the wild yeast and the rich aromatics of the honey and delivers it straight to your glass. Simply put, this is quite possibly the best vodka on the market.


#9. Anna

Hill Farmstead, Greensboro, Vermont

If the Honey20 was a competition based on quality alone, Anna from Hill Farmstead most likely would have come out on top. It’s a beautiful take on the Biere de Miel style inspired by one of the pioneers of the style, Brasserie Dupont (see #8 on the Honey20). In the recipe for Anna, honey plays a starring role. It accounts for 25% of the sugar source in the beer and contributes a nuanced ester profile and gentle acidity. It’s the type of beer that beer connoisseurs can ruminate on for hours. It’s elegant, perfectly balanced, and complex, yet so easily drinkable. It’s a beautiful beer made by the #1 brewery in the world for the last seven years, according to And, just as Anna was inspired by one of the pioneers of honey beer, it’s unquestionable that Anna itself has inspired countless brewers throughout the country to explore honey’s use in saisons and farmhouse ales.


#8. Biere de Miel

Dupont Brewery, Tourpes, Belgium

When it comes to influencing brewers to make honey beer, no beer has had a bigger impact than Biere de Miel from Dupont Brewery. From its iconic label to its deft use of honey, everything about this beer is influential. When pouring a glass of Biere de Miel, the first thing you notice is the delicate honey aromas that set the stage for the drinking experience. Upon tasting, you recognize the perfect balance of sweetness with estery flavors such as pears and bananas. And the finish? Perfectly executed with a dry, crisp end. To create such a pleasurable drinking experience, Dupont uses honey in two different ways. Robust chestnut honey is used as a sugar source in the recipe and to impart a bitterness to the beer. Then, wildflower honey is used for the secondary fermentation in the bottle, giving the beer its trademark aroma.


#7. Hopslam

Bell’s Brewery, Comstock, Michigan

Hopslam was a pioneering beer when it was released in 2004 for many reasons beyond its use of honey. At the time of its release, double IPAs were rare, and the beer’s recipe pushed the boundaries of ABV, hop aroma, and bitterness. It was a white whale of a beer and highly sought after every January when it was released. But, what to make of honey’s use in a beer so bitter and hoppy? Fifteen years ago, most consumers equated honey in beer to sweetness. However, the brewers at Bell’s knew that honey’s high fermentability would boost the ABV and dry out the beer without adding any residual sweetness. Hopslam helped pave the way for honey to be used as a tool to make a beer inherently more drinkable despite its ABV. Plus, honey’s fermentability allowed the hops to come through even stronger. And then there are the intangibles of brewing with honey. The depth and richness that honey adds to Hopslam are unquantifiable, but you can taste it. It’s there and spurred countless other brewers to use honey to produce double IPAs that drink easily despite their IBUs and ABVs.


#6. American Honey

Wild Turkey, New York, New York

Long before Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey and Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey gained global acclaim in the flavored whiskey and bourbon category, there was Wild Turkey Liqueur, the creation of esteemed distiller Jimmy Russell. First introduced in 1976, Wild Turkey Liqueur was the first honeyed bourbon to hit liquor store shelves. Its goal was simple: broaden the market for bourbon by presenting a sweeter flavored product. It was a revolutionary approach way ahead of its time. Today, flavored bourbons and whiskeys are driving sales in the category and are easily found in supermarkets and bars around the world. In 1976, Wild Turkey Liqueur stood on its own, and while it never had massive market appeal during those early years, it set the stage for the category’s success today. Relaunched in 2006 under the American Honey moniker, the liqueur has finally accomplished the goal originally set out by Jimmy Russel: broaden the appeal of whiskey and bourbon.


Congratulations to the meaderies, breweries, and distilleries that made our list! And, stay tuned for our Top 5 made with honey alcohol products.