Judging Process

Judging Process

Judging criteria

To win a USA spirits Ratings award you will need to score highly in all three areas of our judging criteria. You might have an outstanding quality spirits, but if the price and packaging is not right, you will not be recognized by the USA spirits Ratings.

There is no point, for example, in having a 95 point spirits if it does not look good or offer consumers great value for money. Those points mean it will remain highly respected within the trade, but it will also remain largely unsold on the shelf or languishing on a restaurant’s spirits list.

Scoring system

That is why the USA spirits Ratings will be decided based on the following judging formula:

Q (Quality Score) + Value Score (V) + Package Score (P) = USA spirits Ratings Score.

A separate weighted score will be given for each of the three parts of the judging process. The scores will be added up to give a final score from which individual prizes will be awarded.

  1. Quality Score: will be marked out of 50
  2. Value Score: will be marked out of 25
  3. Package Score: will be marked out of 25

Gold: to receive a Gold medal you need to score 90 or over.

Silver: you need to score between 80-89.

Bronze: you need to score between 70-79.

Who are our judges?

The USA Spirits Ratings will be assessed and judged by a leading panel of top-level spirits buyers with current direct commercial buying responsibility. Or spirits consultants and experts who are also directly involved in the development of new spirits brands or buying spirits for commercial resale.

The list of judges will be drawn from leading retail chains, wholesalers, distributors and on-trade groups across a variety of channels and disciplines including multiple retailing, convenience stores, cash and carries, specialist retailers, casual and fine dining, hospitality and the travel industry. 

Judging procedure

All spirits entered will be handled by Northwest Distribution and Storage, Inc. and organized into flights for tasting.

The spirits will:

- Initially be tasted blind to determine its quality and drinkability.

- Where appropriate they will also be assessed by variety, style, region, and country.

- Judges will then determine the value score of the spirits based on the quality and its retail price.  

- The judges will then be handed the bottle or format for them to be able to assess, in detail, the design, label, and packaging and determine how well that matches up to, or complements the quality of the spirits and its price point. It is how the product is perceived when placed on the spirits shelf among thousands of other spirits.

- The judges can discuss the spirits as a whole to help allocate scores in the three judging areas however each judge will give its independent score and a weighted average will be taken at the end.

Judging dates

Judging will take place on July 26, 2020, in the US. To be considered in the ratings, all products must be in the warehouse by June 30, 2020.