Introducing: Sir Winston Straight

Officially aged for 4 years in charred, new American Oak Barrels and made from corn grown on our own farms, we are pleased to introduce Sir Winston Straight Bourbon. We feel the taste is a smooth blend of toasted wood and grain notes with a sweet hint of juicy fruit and vanilla and comes in at 95 proof (47.5% alc/vol). Stop in for a sample!

NABWC Award Winners

The North American Bourbon & Whiskey Competition has published its results for the 2021 double-blind tasting competition.  Sir Winston Wheat Whiskey received a Bronze award and Sir Winston Barrel Proof Bourbon received a Silver award!

The NABWC promotes excellence in bourbon, whiskey, and moonshine through a double-blind competition and is based on a 100-point scale. The spirits are judged by styles and price categories, and this year’s competition was judged in Denver, Colorado.

2022 Bourbon, Brews & BBQ Event

The Bourbon, Brews & BBQ event showcases local/Iowa craft distilleries, breweries, and wineries, promotes the appreciation of competition BBQ in a fun-filled environment, and supports our community by donating proceeds of the event to the Bancroft Fire Department and EMS.

While the BBQ competition event is taking place, several local craft distilleries, breweries, and wineries will be participating in a tasting event from 1pm-4pm. VIP ticket {SOLD OUT} holders may enter at 12pm. All tickets come with a commemorative tasting glass. BBQ samples start at 1pm – help us vote for People’s Choice!

A DJ, full bar, and food sales will also be available. Located in the greenspace west of the Catholic Church in the area of the Bancroft Memorial Ballfield. NEW THIS YEAR: Live band starts playing at 6:30pm.

Must be 21 and older to purchase tasting wristbands. ID verified upon entry.

Tickets found at

Sir Winston Bourbon Receives Gold Medal

We were pleased to learn Sir Winston Bourbon achieved a GOLD MEDAL in the 2020 Las Vegas Global Spirit Awards!

The judges were chosen as the most respected, knowledgeable and diverse court of experts who passionately devote their professional lives to studying the excellence of adult beverages throughout the world.

Las Vegas Global Wine & Spirit Awards Founder and Executive Director Eddie Rivkin shares: “This year’s winners truly show that we honor the best, whether that bottle is from a boutique brand from a lesser-known region or a large, globally known brand. All that matters in our competitions is what’s in the bottle.”

This year’s competitions proudly boasted bottles from 6 different continents, all vying for top honors in the top wine & spirit marketplace in the world – Las Vegas.

Executive Director Eddie Rivkin continued: “2020 has been an incredibly tough year for so many. I’m proud our competition survived, persevered and was able to honor this year’s best. I’m incredibly excited to honor and share our winners with the world!”

S&B Farms Wins 5 Medals in 2020 USA Spirits Ratings Competition

S & B Farms Distillery recently took home five medals from the USA Spirits Ratings Competition in San Francisco, CA.  Our Sir Winston Bourbon, Sir Winston Peach, Hog Wild, Private First Class, and Sir Winston Wheat Whiskey scored highly in three different categories – Quality, Value and Packaging – in order to take home medals in the competition. Winning a medal at the USA Spirits Ratings Competition is the ultimate seal of approval, showing that our spirits are high-quality with broad consumer appeal.

Our medals included:

  • Sir Winston Bourbon – Gold
  • Sir Winston Peach – Silver
  • Hog Wild Cinnamon – Silver
  • Private First Class – Silver
  • Sir Winston Wheat Whiskey – Bronze

One of the guiding principles of the USA Spirits Ratings competition is that all spirits that receive medals in the competition should be those that consumers actually want to buy, whether it is shopping for a spirit at a retail liquor store, or ordering a spirit off a restaurant menu. As a result, the USA Spirits Ratings competition has created an entirely new 100-point rating system that takes into account three different criteria (Quality, Value and Packaging) rather than just spirit making technique or overall taste.

In order to receive a Gold/Silver/Bronze medal at the USA Spirits Ratings competition, a spirits needed to score at least 90/80/70 points.

Sid Patel, CEO and Founder of Beverage Trade Network, emphasized the importance of finding spirits that score highly across all three categories rather than just one, “We feel that it offers a broad, comprehensive approach to evaluating spirits the same way that consumers and trade buyers do.”

“Increasingly, consumers are thinking of spirits as brands, just like they would any other product they find in a supermarket,” said Patel. “That’s why it was so important to include Packaging & Presentation as a key judging criteria – it means that the spirit is being created with a specific type of customer or demographic in mind.”

The judging panel included spirits industry professionals with commercial buying expertise. Judges included professionals from leading retail chains, wholesalers, distributors, specialty retailers and casual and fine dining establishments. The inclusion of so many high-profile judges ensured that spirits awarded medals in competition were those with a high degree of commercial appeal.

New to S&B Distillery: Sir Winston Apple

Joining our line up is the new Sir Winston Apple! It is slightly tart, slightly sweet, and slightly candy-like smooth. It is balanced with notes of crisp green apple flavor followed with hints of caramel.

Try it with lemon lime soda, cola, ginger ale, ginger beer, sparkling wine, Angry Orchard, pineapple juice, Mountain Dew, or cranberry juice. 

Introducing: Sir Winston Wheat Whiskey

We are excited to introduce our Sir Winston Wheat Whiskey!
Sir Winston Wheat has an easy-going, laid-back, velvety charm about itself. With a smooth, sweet finish, you will pick up notes of soft vanilla, berries, and a whisper of honey. It is made from whiskey distilled from a wheat bourbon mash bill and aged 8 months in our own used 5-gallon bourbon barrels.
Due to limited supply of the small batch, Sir Winston Wheat will be sold in house only. Stop in to try it out!

Iowa Farm Bureau Article: An entrepreneurial spirit

By Tom Block
Originally published at: Iowa Farm Bureau

(Photo above: Sara Winkleman watches as her husband, Brian, checks the aroma of a new batch at S&B Farms Distillery in Bancroft. The couple started their distillery in 2018 after plenty of research. PHOTO / GARY FANDEL)

Sara and Brian Winkleman are turning corn grown on their Kossuth County farm into award-winning spirits at S&B Farms Distillery in Bancroft.

The beginnings of the venture can be traced back about four years ago when a friend who wanted to use Iowa-grown sweet corn to make a batch of moonshine hooked them up with a distillery in Georgia. Watching the process kicked Sara’s entrepreneurial instincts into overdrive.

“I went down there, and when I saw the process, it was very fascinating and intriguing,” she says. “I decided I wanted to learn how to do this. From that day forward, it was full on.”

After much research, they op­­ened S&B Farms Distillery in 2018.

Brian, who was born and rais­ed on a farm near Ledyard, says growing corn for whiskey isn’t much different than typical uses like livestock or ethanol. While their initial experience involved sweet corn, S&B Farms uses field corn to make its products because it is better suited to the distilling process.

The corn is milled at the farm and brought to the distillery, where Brian tends to the process of distilling the grain into alcohol using Sara’s carefully crafted recipes.

“When we’re done distilling, we haul the mash back out and feed it to our cattle,” says Brian, who raises corn, soybeans, peas, sweet corn, cattle and hogs with longtime farming partner, Ryan Steenhard. The Winklemans’ 15-year-old daughter Grace and 10-year-old son Garrison also help out with chores on the farm.

Rich, black Iowa soil

The area’s rich, black soil is one of the secrets to the award-winning taste of S&B Farms’ products, Sara explains.

“We are very, very blessed here in the Midwest. One thing that I learned through this process is that corn grown in different areas of the United States all has a different flavor,” she says. “The black soil here makes a huge difference. The corn that is being distilled (at S&B Farms) is nice, sweet, very good tasting. There’s no bitterness to it.”

All of S&B Farms’ products carry names with deep connections to their family, such as Private First Class named after Sara’s grandpa, Ray Baade, a World War II veteran and one of her biggest supporters; and Hog Wild, a nod to the Winklemans’ background as hog farmers. There’s also Field Fire, a spicy pineapple jalapeno moonshine, and a trio of spirits named after the family’s dog — Sir Winston Bourbon, Sir Winston Peach and Sir Winston White Whiskey.

Sara pours her time and ef­forts into perfecting the recipes for each product, experimenting with different flavors until she hits on the right formula.
Perfecting recipes

“It’s a lot of trial and error,” she admits. While she was working on the peach bourbon, she had a group of her friends taste test several versions until it elicited the reaction she wanted.

“It’s got to be, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’ So until we hit that ‘amazing,’ I don’t stop.”

The process is then turned over to Brian, who learned how to run the still by watching an experienced moonshiner the Winklemans hired to help get the enterprise up and running. The distilling process is as much art as science, Sara notes, with smell and taste playing a big part in the final result.

“Everything is done to our palettes. If somebody else used the same recipe, it would taste different,” she explains. Their efforts have been recognized with several awards, including a silver medal for Sir Winston Peach at the 2020 Denver International Spirits Competition.


The Winklemans, who won the Iowa Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa award in June, plan to maintain that hands-on ap­­proach even as they embark on an expansion that will more than double the size of their production and warehouse area. They hope to have the expansion completed before winter so they can add more stills to meet growing demand for their products.

They worried sales would suffer when COVID-19 forced bars and restaurants across Iowa to close their doors in March. The distillery briefly shifted its production focus after being contacted by local emergency management officials regarding shortages of hand sanitizer, pumping out 1,100 gallons of the sanitizer for distribution across 15 counties in Iowa and Minnesota.

However, they noticed sales of their spirits were also taking off as homebound customers adjusted their buying habits for at-home consumption. Many, it seemed, were looking for products with a local connection. In addition to their store on Bancroft’s main street, S&B Farms products can be found in stores statewide, including large retailers such as Hy-Vee, Fareway and Casey’s.

“Shortly after we got into the hand sanitizer, we saw increased sales of our products,” Sara says. “The way it was increasing, we had to turn back and start making products because it was going crazy. We are running at maximum capacity right now.”

Attracting tourists

Their storefront and tasting room, housed in a former dentist’s office, has become a tourist attraction. They estimate nearly 2,000 customers came through the doors in the first three weeks of July. In addition to S&B Farms products, the store carries homemade barbecue sauces, jams, salsa and T-shirts, among other items.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d be where we are now. It’s been a whirlwind,” says Sara. “People are driving hours to see us. People like that they can drive here in Iowa and meet the people who are making their product.”

S&B Farms Distillery Receives Iowa Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur Award

By Caitlyn Lamm

The Winklemans had never thought about turning corn into whiskey but suddenly were intrigued, and a trip to Georgia to learn more about the distilling process was all it took for Sara to become infatuated with the idea. Soon after, in 2018, the couple found themselves renovating an old Bancroft, Iowa dentist office where S&B Farms Distillery was born.

S&B Farms Distillery offers a lineup of award-winning bourbons and whiskeys made from corn grown on the Winkleman farm. While they offer classic spirit flavors, some of their handcrafted products also have an extra kick like “Field Fire,” a spicy pineapple jalapeno moonshine and “Hog Wild,” with hints of cinnamon. Near and dear to Sara’s heart though is their bottle of “Private First Class,” named after her grandfather, a WWII veteran. “We’ve always been best friends,” she says. “So, when I decided I wanted to go on this adventure, he stood there and cheered me on.”

When it comes to whiskeys from all over the United States, the Winklemans say Iowa corn has a taste advantage. As farmers they know the type of corn, where the corn is planted and the soil plays a huge factor. In fact, their recipe replicated somewhere else in the country would yield a different taste, and distillers who have tried Iowa corn whiskey, Sara says, were very impressed.

“When we were down in Georgia, we would try some of their alcohol that was made from corn down there and compare it to ours, and I think it’s just the good black soil we have in Iowa that just gives the corn a better flavor,” says Brian.

Dean Berte, Kossuth County Farm Bureau president, also knows the value of Iowa’s corn and how it impacts rural communities. “I think any business that uses grain up in this area is good. I think it’s big for the community of Bancroft to have some expanding businesses in town,” he says.

Executive Director of the Kossuth-Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation Maureen Elbert agrees and says S&B Farms Distillery has had a positive impact on the community and Sara’s entrepreneurial spirit is a major part of the reason why. “Sara is the exact type of person that people go to and even in her industry, people are calling her. She’s helping mentor them just like she was mentored. She has that true spirit of entrepreneurism that continues to grow, and she’s always thinking of new ideas and how can she bring new things to her store.”

The Winklemans never imagined that one of those “new ideas” would come at a crucial time. With COVID-19 spurring a shortage in disinfectant supplies, S&B Farms Distillery quickly switched gears to make hand sanitizer. “We took a big deep breath and regrouped. The transition wasn’t too bad; it was finding everything that we needed because it was completely different ingredients than what we were running with the whiskey,” says Sara.

After acquiring the proper Food and Drug Administration approvals, the Winklemans created and provided their hand sanitizer to emergency management in 15 different counties and also shared their product with the community through a free-will donation with proceeds going to front line workers. Through it all, Sara knows Bancroft is a community that takes care of each other. “Anything and everything that I needed to help get this going, they were there to support. The community has been amazing,” she says.

RRI is an Iowa Farm Bureau initiative that supports new and existing businesses through education, mentoring and financial resources. Since its inception, RRI has helped create more than $125M in economic impact for rural communities. For more information about RRI and upcoming business seminars, visit


Award-Winning Peach

S&B Farms latest spirit, Sir Winston Peach is officially award-winning with a silver medal from the Denver International Spirits Competition.

The  Denver International Spirits Competition is conducted double-blind by a seasoned panel of beverage professionals. The judging panel consists of sommeliers, retail buyers, journalists, mixologists, and beverage directors. All judges undergo a daily calibration class designed to maintain consistent evaluation and scoring of all spirits. Denver’s is one of only four international spirit competitions worldwide (the other three are San Francisco, London, and New York).