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San Francisco, California. September 5, 2018 – Beverage Trade Network today announced the results of the 2018 USA Spirits Ratings competition. Overall, the panel of judges in San Francisco recognized 62 medal winners in a broad variety of categories, including Spirit of the Year, Distillery of the Year and Best in Show by Country. In addition, judges named the Vodka of the Year, Rum of the Year, Tequila of the Year, Gin of the Year and Whiskey of the Year.
The highest-scoring spirit in the competition was Coppercraft Distillery Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The 2018 Distillery of the Year was John Dewar & Sons Ltd. Overall, half of the Gold medals in the competition were awarded to U.S.-based producers. In addition to Coppercraft Distillery, the following American entrants all won Gold medals: Skeptic Distillery Co. (Skeptic Gin, Skeptic Vodka), Still the One Distillery Two (No. 4 Rye Whiskey) and Distillers Way LLC (Doc Swinson’s Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Madeira Casks).
Entries in the USA Spirits Ratings competition were blind-tasted and judged by a high-profile panel of judges, who assessed the spirits in competition on the basis of three primary criteria: Quality, Value, and Package. All spirits were scored on a 100-point scale that assigned relative weights to each of these three criteria. Spirits that scored 90+ points were awarded Gold medals, spirits that scored 80 to 89 points were awarded Silver medals and spirits that scored 70 to 79 points were awarded Bronze medals. Overall, 12 spirits received Gold medals, 18 received Silver medals and 32 received Bronze medals.
The USA Spirits Ratings was launched in late 2017 by Beverage Trade Network, which organizes alcohol beverage industry events all over the world. The goal of this event was to judge spirits the way consumers judge them. In contrast to other spirits competitions, where distilling ability and technical expertise sometimes receive primary consideration at the expense of drinkability, the goal of the USA Spirits Ratings was to award and celebrate the spirits that consumers actually want to buy, whether at a retail liquor store or ordering off the menu at a restaurant.
“Our goal was to set a very high bar for the types of spirits that receive Gold, Silver and Bronze medals,” said Sid Patel, CEO and Founder of Beverage Trade Network. “We worked carefully with the judges on evaluating the criteria of Quality, Value and Package in order to take a consumer-centric view of the top spirits in the world. Based on initial feedback we have already received on this judging criteria, we believe that events like the USA Spirits Ratings can help to change the paradigm for the global alcohol beverage industry.”
At this year’s competition, two surprise Gold medal winners included Forest Raspberry Spirit from Germany and Fusion Single Malt Whiskey from India. “The fact that judges were able to recognize these two spirits for excellence is further evidence that our mission of recognizing world-class spirits from around the world is already having a real impact,” said Sid Patel of Beverage Trade Network.
Coppercraft Distillery Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Belarus - Belaruska Wheat Vodka, Belarus
Germany - Forest Raspberry Spirit, Lautergold Paul Schubert GmbH
United States - Skeptic Gin, Skeptic Distillery Co.
Ireland - The Dubliner Master Distillers Reserve, Quintessential Brands
Netherlands - Skyline Amsterdam Organic, BioSpirits
India - Fusion Single Malt, Amrut