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Why good-looking brands should enter Bartender Spirits Awards

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08/07/2020 A key part of the competition’s judging process is about how a bottle looks - which is crucial if you want the best bars and restaurants to stock your spirit.

How does a spirit brand stand out in the modern world? Flavour, of course, is crucial, but many drinkers have made up their minds before they even get to that stage. The truth is this: the market is hugely crowded, and a spirit brand needs to be visually appealing. Most drinks competitions don’t take that into account - but the Bartender Spirits Awards, which take place August 13, are different.

How a bottle looks - which is to say, the first impression that a bartender, sommelier or drinker will get of your product - is a central part of judging for this competition. But doesn’t that mean judges know which brand they’re drinking, thereby rendering the tasting section invalid? No. Judges, who are drawn from amongst the country’s finest mixologists, bartenders and managers, only get to see packaging after completing the tasting part of the process. The tasting section is completely unbiased.

The competition is a great opportunity for under-exposed brands to demonstrate why they deserve more attention - and for well-known favourites to show they’ earned the limelight. Now is the perfect time to enter as registrations closes on July 20, 2020.

Enter Your Spirits Now

The tasting section judges entries in three ways: mixability, balance and versatility, and taste, mouthfeel and finish. These are the crucial components of a truly memorable and delicious spirit. Price is also judged: an award is offered for best value spirit of the year, a key consideration in such a competitive, price-sensitive market.

Awards are also given for Spirit of The Year, Distillery of the Year and Best Package, alongside prizes for each spirit, from whisky to rum. The most coveted prize of all, perhaps, is a double gold medal, a rare achievement indeed: last year only one spirit, Humboldt Distillery’s Organic Vodka, achieved that. 

Plenty of spirits shone, though. Indeed, last year’s winners demonstrate the global reach of the awards. Golds went to Amrut Fusion Single Malt Whisky from India, to Aguamiel Tequila from Mexico, to Neptune Rum from Barbados, to Perun Vodka from Serbia, and to Alvisa 10 brandy from Spain, amongst others. It’s a veritable world cup of spirits; doing well here really matters.

Entries will be judged fairly and thoroughly. The judges are a diverse, experienced bunch, who know their single malt from their single barrel. Amongst a stellar line-up you’ll find Juyoung Kang, the multi-award-winning Lead Bartender & Mixologist at The Dorsey in Las Vegas; Natasha Mesa, head bartendress at Deadshot in Portland, Oregon; Daniel Parks, beverage director at the Future Bars group in the Bay Area; and Simone Mimms, bar manager at Palette in San Francisco. It’s a savvy, stylish group, more than capable of sorting the chaff from the wheat.

The competition doesn’t end when the awards are all handed out, either. The Bartender Spirits Awards’ media partners will promote the winning brands in a variety of impactful ways, from mailouts to the 50,000-strong Beverage Trade Network community to coverage in publications like BTN news, Bartenders Business, and BevRoute. There’ll be all-year round social media coverage for winners and the top 100 spirits will feature in ‘The Top 100 On-Premise Spirits’ magazine, a glossy celebration of the best. Don’t miss out - make sure you get your entry in before the special pricing ends.