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2019’s Special Honor goes to Eric and Laura Sorkin, founders of Runamok Maple in Northern Vermont!

Eric and Laura combine their advanced degrees with the best of old-fashioned farming to create a truly authentic taste that delights the palate. In addition to their dedication to hand-tapping maple trees, Eric and Laura love experimenting with various recipes to bring out the best in pure maple syrup. Runamok’s artisanal syrups are crafted using culinary techniques from smoking to barrel-aging. They have been known to end a cold day in the trees by shaking up a good cocktail. We are thrilled to honor them for making new traditions out of beloved favorites through their contributions to craft maple syrup.


Special Guest, Steve Stallard, of BLiS ( was honored in 2018 for promoting the maple syrup industry. Steve pioneered bourbon barrel aged maple syrup almost 20 years ago. His legacy has blossomed into an entire market category. Steve, a professionally trained chef, is an innovator that has a legacy impacting hundreds of maple producing families. We are honored that he was willing to let us honor him back for his dedication, creativity, and hard work promoting the maple industry.

Thanks to Steve, we can all enjoy Craft Maple Syrup. Starting in 2019, our Best of Show award will be named The Stevie in his honor.

2019 Craft Maple Syrup Competition

A big driver for creating this Craft Maple Festival is to develop the growing community of Craft Maple Syrup. The craft maple syrup products hitting the market by storm do not have a community by which they can be compared and judged on a consistent platform. We think after 20 years, it was time to get this show on the road. Who has the best bourbon barrel aged maple syrup in the world? We think the world should know who the experts deem worthy.

Competition Rules:

1) All maple syrup entered is authentic and pure (we can tell!). In fact, your entries will be judged by Dr. Luis Rodriguez-Saona from Ohio State University. Don’t mess with the food scientist.
2) Maple Syrup must be at our facility by October 18, 2019 with an attached entry form (deadline extended): 2019 Craft Maple Syrup Competition
C/O Test My Taster
Bissell Maple Farm
82 West Ashtabula St
Jefferson, OH 44047
3) All entries are in a market-ready package and clearly labeled with your name. Don’t send us a partial Mason jar of some experimental juniper berry pickle barrel aged maple syrup. We aren’t a research firm. We’re volunteers. If you don’t sell the product, don’t send it. Want an opinion? Ask your mommy.
4) All entries will NOT be returned (but it will be donated to a good cause in the community!)
5) Don’t be a fraud. We are pretty sophisticated with our testing. Quite frankly, our judges have golden tongues and Georgie will flunk you. He’s got a laser.

6) SAVE-THE-DATE for Saturday, November 2, 2019 in Jefferson, Ohio. We will be announcing awards at the Craft Maple Brewers’ Party and not one second before! If you can’t be there, at least let us know. It’ll be pretty embarrassing for everyone if we announce your name and no one is there to receive the award. Shipping costs not included in your FREE entry! We can’t guarantee you’ll win anything, but can promise excellent food, amazing beer, and unparalleled networking.


2018 Craft Maple Syrup Awards

-Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple: BLiS Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup

-Whiskey Barrel Aged Maple Syrup: Runamok Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged Maple Syrup

-Neat (Unique Maple Syrup): Runamok Ginger Root Infused

-Sweet: Wood’s Apple Pie Infused Maple Syrup

-Heat (Maple with zing): Runamok Merquén Infused Maple Syrup

-Best in Show!!!: Pappy Van Winkle 23-Year Bourbon Barrel Aged Pure Maple Syrup 

Thank you for all of your entries!  We look forward to the continued innovation and growth of the Craft Maple Syrup Industry.
The Craft Maple Syrup Tasting Committee
E.H., T.A.K., M.M.