Vara, Taylor Garrett bring home multiple medals for spirits - Albuquerque Journal

Vara, Taylor Garrett bring home multiple medals for spirits

Vara Winery and Distillery’s Rum Añejo and Rum Blanco came home with awards from the Pr%f Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Courtesy of Vara Winery and Distillery)

Vara Winery and Distillery continues to make waves in the world of spirits.

Vara’s tasting room sits along Alameda Boulevard, across the drainage channel from Balloon Fiesta Park, and offers wine, liquor and a full menu. Its sister company, which is onsite, is the Taylor Garrett Spirits brand. Founder Scott Feuille is the distiller for both Taylor Garrett and Vara.

The relatively young Vara establishment recently came home with 10 medals from the 2021 Pr%f Awards, which is sponsored by Food and Beverage Magazine and Delta Sky Club. The yearly award ceremony takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, and recognizes excellence in distilling.

“Our group of dedicated professionals strives to create the most delicious and true-to-style spirits possible,” Feuille said. “We pay close attention to detail during all phases of production, from mash to fermentation and all stages of distillation. Recognition from the judges at Pr%f, from all around the spirits industry, is the highest form of praise and shows us that we are on the right track.”

The people responsible for getting the product into the hands of the public, including retailers, distributors, and purchasers for bars, restaurants, nightclubs and hotels, judged the competition.

Taylor Garrett has released this sherry cask whiskey for the holidays. The original Taylor Garrett Whiskey recently won silver at the Pr%f Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Courtesy of Taylor Garrett Spirits)

Vara’s Rum Añejo was the big winner, taking home double gold in the unmasked competition, which looks at the total package, and silver in the masked competition double-blind tasting. Vara’s Rum Blanco won two silvers.

The Taylor Garrett Rye won gold in the unmasked portion and silver in the masked competition, the Imperial Malt won sliver and bronze respectively and, finally, the Taylor Garrett Whiskey won silver in the unmasked competition and the bronze in the masked segment.

Feuille said it’s always nice to have their hard work appreciated.

“What’s extremely special about these awards are the whiskey, because of the way it’s aged,” he said. “It has not been sitting in a barrel for several years. It’s a validation of the process for us.”

He said the distillery uses white oak barrels to age the whiskey and he has developed a method that speeds up the aging process.

Vara president Xavier Zamarripa said for him the awards are about his people. Zamarripa said he had always intended to start distilling when he opened a few years ago, but the original plan was to release a few products a year. The pandemic changed that. Looking for a way to keep people employed, Zamarripa said they decided to move up their production schedule. They used the downtime when they could not be open to the public to develop and create their spirits line.

“I truly believe our greatest asset is our people,” Zamarripa said. “It’s their award. They are highly regarded.”

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