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America’s top bartenders on why enter your spirits in the Bartender Spirits Awards?

Photo for: America’s top bartenders on why enter your spirits in the Bartender Spirits Awards?

22/04/2024 Learn why Bartender Spirits Awards is a game-changer for brands seeking to make a lasting mark in the competitive spirits market.

In the competitive world of spirits, gaining recognition can be as crucial as the quality of the drink itself. For emerging and lesser-known brands, winning an award at a prestigious event like the Bartender Spirits Awards can be a game changer. But just how impactful is it for a spirit brand to clinch such an award?

We reached out to several judges from the Bartender Spirits Awards 2024 to hear their views directly. Their responses shed light on the significant impact these awards have on existing and emerging spirits brands to have brand visibility, credibility, and market entry.

Image source: Toshioueno

Toshio Ueno: Executive Instructor & VP at Sake School of America highlighted the importance of such recognition for smaller, up-and-coming companies: “I think it will have a huge impact on some of the small emerging companies.”

From the perspective of giving a brand its unique identity in the marketplace, Raj Sabharwal commented, “Winning a top award gives the brand credibility and advanced identity. The recognition is helpful as a sales tool for emerging brands.”

Image source: Abrahamvucekovich

Abraham Vucekovich: Beverage Director Meadowlark Hospitality, Chicago: believes much depends on the people behind the brand, stating, “I think with the right brand ambassador, it can be impactful.”

Image source: Dannyshapiro

Echoing the sentiment of immediate brand elevation, Danny Shapiro: Founding partner in Scofflaw Group, Chicago: said, “I’d say it's quite impactful for a brand to be recognized, especially one that doesn't have a large marketing budget. It's like instant street cred.”

Image source: Jaredgivens

Jared Givens: Director of Restaurants, Bars, and Events at The Thompson, Hyatt Hotels, Dallas: emphasized the role of bartenders as brand ambassadors, especially when such awards are judged by them: “A brand can have no better ambassador than an excited bartender. With these awards being judged by a collection of them, it's hard not to think it will be massively impactful for the brands who are awarded.”

Image source: Renato

Renato Marco Tonelli: 2023 US Bartender of the Year and Founder of Sustainable Bartender: pointed out the broader recognition that comes with an award, “Awards can shine a spotlight on a brand that was not previously recognized or well-known. It gives it attention from the peers of the industry which becomes a great segue and marketing tool for guests and consumers.”

Image source: Emilianovazquez-parrales

Emiliano Vazquez-Parrales: Head Bartender and Beverage Program Director at Moody Tongue Brewing Company: spoke about the legitimacy these awards confer: “For any spirit brand, it would be a pretty big deal to win an award from Bartender Spirits Award. All these spirits are being graded by some of the best palates the service industry has to offer and to be considered at the top means that you are absolutely worth being recognized and for a new business that’s a huge leg up over competitors.”

Image source: Jasondeatherage

Jason Deatherage: Lead bartender for The Gwen Hotel: addressed the competitive advantage, “I think it is a great thing. There is so much competition these days in this world. So many options are available. Winning one of these awards is not only great for marketing, but it showcases to bartenders, bar owners, and beverage directors that you have a good product.”

Image source: Julietacampos

Julieta Campos: Beverage and Bar Operations Director at The Fifty/50 Group, Chicago: suggested the long-term benefits, “It can be very impactful for a spirit to win an award of this caliber, it could very much set up the company for at least a couple of years.”

Image source: Kateiwinski

Kate Iwinski: Bartender, Mixologist, Bar Manager at Take Flight Spirits, Chicago: discussed the influence on consumer experience, “It offers a chance for those in bartending to try new things first hand—in my own case especially, plant ideas for new cocktails— directly getting new brands exposure and possibly into the hands of consumers much faster through establishments.”

Image source: Trudythomas

Lastly, Trudy Thomas: Corporate Director of Beverage at Southworth Development, Spirits Educator and Mixologist, Nashville: encapsulated the overall effect, “Winning puts the brand in a spotlight especially when judged by a panel like this, it gets the brand notoriety and focus for mixability.”

From these insights, it's clear that winning a Bartender Spirits Award does not merely add a trophy to a brand's shelf but significantly enhances its market presence, credibility, and consumer perception. For emerging brands, such recognition can accelerate growth and establish a foothold in a bustling industry, making these awards a coveted achievement for any spirit brand aiming to make a mark.

The 6th annual Bartender Spirits Awards is set to close submissions on April 24, 2024, providing a unique opportunity for spirits brands aiming to expand their presence in the US market.


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