Horyzon Spirits

Horyzon Spirits Rice Whiskey

Our Story

At the heart of our brand there’s a story, an inspiration cultivated from history and a promise to create spirits without limitation or boundary.

In the beginning
there was rice

The Horyzon story begins with one of the world’s most well-known and widely produced domestic grains. For thousands of years, rice has long been a staple ingredient in food production. It remains the most valuable crop in the world, consumed by millions of people every day. Rice production in America predates the United States. As the British colonies expanded, the cultivation of rice – particularly Carolina Gold rice – stretched along the east coast from lower North Carolina to Savannah, Georgia. And, while the 20th century saw rice production shift toward the Mississippi River Basin and Sacramento Valley, coastal Carolina reemerged as a producer in the 1980s, as farmers and chefs re-established these heirloom grains as a culinary staple of Southern cuisine. Today, the US remains one of the world’s largest producers of rice mostly grown across five states – Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, California and South Carolina.

Inspired by this small slice of history, the founders of Horyzon set out on a journey to connect others with our American pastime and create a new expression of whiskey to be shared with all our friends and family.

Japanese Tradition

As it turns out, rice doesn’t handle as well as barley or rye with the traditional western-style malting process seen across familiar whiskeys and bourbons. In order to unlock the rich starch content, we had to turn half-way across the world to discover production techniques that have been crafted for hundreds of years. Asian production of rice-based alcoholic beverages dates back over 2,000 years. In Japan specifically, family-owned distilleries have perfected ways to bring out the unique flavors and aromas of rice in their spirits using a unique ingredient called koji to break down the rice starch and transform into sugar. Those recipes and distillation techniques have been passed from generation to generation and an integral part of Japanese tradition.

Horyzon Today

In 2014, we started to trial and test the delicate combination of American rice and Japanese koji to release our own expressions of rice whiskey. In 2021, we released our first rice spirit using American ingredients blended with traditional Japanese style techniques. Over the coming years, we plan to release new expressions of our rice whiskey through grain combinations, barrel blending, barrel aging, and barrel finishing techniques.

We look forward to hearing from you as we create the new standard for American rice whiskey.

Our Ingredients

The Production Process

Preparing the Rice

At the start of every batch, rice is washed, rinsed, and soaked to prepare for steaming. If the rice does not absorb ample water, it will not steam well and the koji will not be able to perform its function. Steaming takes place over several hours as rice is moved from soaking vessels, to the steamer, and on to the cooling table. Once the rice reaches room temperature, it is placed in trays and moved to the koji room where it is inoculated with koji spores (also known as koji-kin), covered, and protected from outside interference. It’s monitored frequently for specific temperature and humidity which are essential for growth.


After several days, the newly formed koji is transferred to a fermentation tank along with water and yeast. An initial starter fermentation kick-starts alcohol production by encouraging rapid yeast growth, and while the fermentation progresses, more rice is washed, soaked, steamed, and then added. During fermentation, there are two processes taking place at the same time known as multiple parallel fermentation. While the koji is converting the steamed rice into sugar, the yeast is consuming the sugar and producing alcohol. This is an ongoing process that occurs throughout the duration of the fermentation.


All Horyzon spirits are distilled in a copper pot, much like bourbons and whiskeys. Unlike those spirits, Horyzon spirits undergo a single distillation process, which helps retain the fermentation’s essence and preserves the taste and flavor of the grain.


Following distillation, our spirits are allowed to rest. This allows volatile esters to be released and changes to occur within the spirit. Horyzon Harvest ages in stainless steel tanks while Southern Blend ages in new American white oak barrels.


Not all rice is the same. Spirits distilled from rice require the right combination of starch content, polishing potential, water absorption, and steaming capability. Japanese rice grains such as Yamadanishiki, which are used specifically in making sake and shochu, have been bred over hundreds of years to express those ideal characteristics. In order to find rice grains with similar profiles, we worked directly with scientists at notable agricultural universities to sort through high yield, medium grain species in current production. For Harvest Select, we selected a medium grain variety with a higher starch content and its ability to absorb water. Quality soil also plays an integral role. For Southern Blend, we specifically selected Charleston Gold Rice from the farms along coastal South Carolina where regular flooding provides essential nutrients to the soil.


Water quality has a significant impact on the overall taste and smoothness of a finished spirit. Therefore, we selected water from the Pine Mountain ridge in Blue Springs, Georgia where pristine, natural water flows from a deep quartzite spring. Every fermentation is made using this water.



Black koji, our most important ingredient, comes from the humid, tropical islands of Okinawa which share a similar humid climate to coastal South Carolina and Georgia in the summer months. We selected black koji for its ability to produce natural citric acid and protect the fermentation which is susceptible to bacterial growth. Black koji gives the mash a deep, complex, tropical flavor.