These 12 Arizona Spirits Were Named Best in the World

In the realm of alcoholic beverages, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition is one of the most competitive contests around.

Each year distilleries around the world enter thousands of spirits for a chance to medal in the competition. Dozens of judges, including bar owners, top mixologists, and beverage directors, put the entries through multiple rounds of judging to pick what is truly the best.

This year, nearly 5,000 spirits were entered and out of those, Arizona won 12 medals for spirits made across the state.

The highest honor won by any Arizona producer this year went to Regalo De Vida Gran Reserva Rum produced by Elgin Distillery, which is actually part of Elgin Winery. The region south of Tucson is known around the state for its wine production and is a nationally dedicated wine-growing region. Rum may be less expected.

Elgin Distillery launched in 1999 and started crafting whiskey, gin, and rum. Then in 2018, Regalo De Vida won double gold. In 2019 and 2020 it did the same. And now, the 2022 contest proved this small town tipple has still got what it takes. The rum won double gold at this year's competition.

click to enlarge Sacred Stave American Single Malt won gold. - SANTAN DISTILLING
Sacred Stave American Single Malt won gold.
SanTan Distilling
The next highest honor earned by an Arizona producer is a little more local to metro Phoenix. Sacred Stave, a brand of SanTan Brewing and Distilling, took home a gold medal for its American Single Malt at the 2022 competition. The whiskey is aged in American and French oak casks before it is finished in red wine barrels.

SanTan's owner Anthony Canecchia started distilling in 2015 and his spirits have medalled at the competition every year since 2018. The Sacred Stave spirits are available at the Chandler distillery and at liquor stores throughout the Valley.

A number of Arizona producers took home silver medals this year, including a collection of flavored limoncellos from newcomer Chelly. Sacred Stave, Jacob Waltz, and SanTan Distilling, all part of the SanTan company, brought home multiple medals to Chandler for spirits, a ginger mule, and a craft vodka soda.

The 2022 Arizona silver medalists are:
  • Canyon Diablo Spirits — Jahn Shaw Mesquite Smoked Whiskey
  • Chelly New-Aged Infused Orangecello
  • Chelly New-Aged Grapefruitcello
  • Jacob Waltz Bottle in Bond Bourbon
  • Sacred Stave Sweet Peach Bourbon
  • Sacred Stave Caramellow
  • SaTan Distilling SunSplash White Peach Vodka Soda
  • SanTan Distilling Whiskey Mule
  • Wild Hare Distillery Straight Rye Whiskey
Chelly, a Scottsdale-based brand that was created to revive a family limoncello recipe, grows its collection of medals this year. Along with the company's many silver medal spirits, the New-Aged Infused Limecello won bronze. Chelly products are available at liquor stores including Total Wine.