Innovative spirits brands from around the world to showcase products in London.
London, UK – The London Spirits Competition is gearing up for another exciting competition in March 2019, featuring top-quality spirits brands from around the world. If the success of the inaugural London Spirits Competition this year is any indication, then the global alcohol beverage industry can expect to see the launch of many more innovative products and brands at the 2019 event.
In March 2018, the first-ever London Spirits Competition generated tremendous industry enthusiasm for its new and innovative judging criteria. Unlike other international spirits competitions, which tend to view spirits from the perspective of producers and distillers, the London Spirits Competition is geared towards spirits that can become new consumer favorites.
In order to ensure that commercially viable products are showcased at the event, the London Spirits Competition uses three separate judging criteria – Quality, Value and Packaging & Design – in coming up with a total score on a 100-point scale. In order to take home an award at the event, spirit brands must demonstrate very high marks within each of these judging criteria. Thus, even the highest-quality artisanal or craft spirit, made with the best possible ingredients, will not take home a Gold or Silver medal if it also does not come with a compelling brand presentation layer and a reasonable price tag.
In many ways, this reflects the way consumers purchase spirits in a retail store, or how they order spirits from the menu at an on-trade establishment such as a restaurant, bar or hotel lounge. Especially for younger millennial drinkers, the brand story behind a spirit can be just as important as the actual taste of the spirit. They choose brands that reflect their lifestyle and their approach to life.
As a result of this new approaching to judging spirits, the 2018 London Spirits Competition saw plenty of surprise winners and a lot of enthusiasm on the part of judges. For example, the Rum of the Year was Ratu Spice Rum from Rum Company Fiji in the Fiji islands. One of the top vodkas was Hop Vodka from Drinklab Inc. in Canada. One of the top gins was Copperhead Black Batch gin, from Copperhead in Belgium. And one of the top gins was the VII Hills Italian Dry Gin from Italy.
In many ways, the tremendous diversity of these winners reflects the growing globalization of the spirits industry. While countries like Ireland may still produce the best whiskeys in the world (and, indeed, The Irishman Single Malt from Walsh Whiskey Distillery in Ireland picked up a Gold Medal and top marks as the Best Spirit of the Year in 2018), they are facing plenty of upstart challengers.
While countries like the UK may still produce the best gins in the world (and there were several Gold Medal gin winners from the UK), they, too, are facing plenty of challengers on the world stage. For example, in addition to the Italian dry gin picking up a Gold Medal in competition, so did High Spirits Gin from High Spirits Distillery in Australia.
“We’re really excited to see so many high-quality global brands compete at the London Spirits Competition,” says Sid Patel, CEO and founder of Beverage Trade Network, the organizers of the event. “The London Spirits Competition, more than any other international competition, is a level playing field for the world’s best brands to gain recognition within the industry.”
To support the award-winning spirits at the competition, Beverage Trade Network is taking plenty of additional steps to ensure that these brands can use all the momentum they generate in London and transfer it to other markets as well. For example, winners are featured across social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and also promoted directly on the London Spirits Competition website. Right now, for example, you can see at a glance some of the biggest up-and-coming names within the global spirits industry.
In addition, another distinguishing characteristic of the London Spirits Competition is the composition of the judging panel, which consists entirely of judges with commercial buying experience. Whether it’s buying new spirits for an upscale supermarket chain in the UK, or buying new spirits for a hospitality business, these judges know exactly which products will be a big hit with consumers. They also are very familiar with pricing within the industry, and can make very astute determinations about the relative value of one spirit vis-à-vis another spirit.
“Products that score highly at the London Spirits Competition are really given a boost within the industry. Medals are a form of cross-industry recognition that travels well, wherever in the world these products are being sold,” explains Sid Patel of Beverage Trade Network. When consumers or industry professionals see a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal award from the London Spirits Competition, they will know that the product is truly world-class and capable of competing on the world stage.
Currently, the 2019 London Spirits Competition is accepting entries for next year’s competition. Will there be another surprise entrant from around the world – like another rum company in Fiji? Will this be the year that a Belgian gin wins top marks as the Gin of the Year? Will this be the year that a Canadian vodka takes home Vodka of the Year honors? The buzz is already building for the London Spirits Competition, and there is likely to be as much innovation – if not more – on display in London in 2019 as there was in 2018.
Awards at the 2019 London Spirits Competition
• Gold Medal
• Silver Medal
• Bronze Medal
• Spirit of the Year
• Vodka of the Year
• Rum of the Year
• Gin of the Year
• Whiskey of the Year
• Distillery of the Year
• Best in Show (by country)
• Best Spirit of the Year (by Quality)
• Best Spirit of the Year (by Value)
• Best Spirit of the Year (by Packaging)
About London Spirits Competition
The London Spirits Competition looks to recognise, reward and help promote spirits brands that have successfully been created to identify with and target a specific spirits drinker. For any spirits brand to earn its place on a retailer’s shelf or a restaurant’s spirits list – and then vitally stay there – they need to be marketable and consumer driven and not just produced in the general hope it can find enough people willing to sell and buy it.
That is why the London Spirits Competition is different. It will single out and shine the spotlight on those spirits brands that consumers really want to buy and have a clear market value for trade buyers.
About Beverage Trade Network
Beverage Trade Network (BTN) hosts events, competitions, expos, tastings and conferences for the alcohol beverage industry on a global basis. In addition to the London Spirits Competition, for example, BTN also hosts the China Spirits Competition. In addition, BTN hosts the USA Trade Tasting event in New York, the International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show in San Francisco and London, and a number of other events in Asia, Europe and North America.
Beverage Trade Network is dedicated to helping spirits producers and spirits brand owners get closer to buyers, distributors and retailers. As part of this mission, Beverage Trade Network organizes events as part of a wider drinks initiative to introduce new brands, producers and manufacturers to the global marketplace.
For more information on Beverage Trade Network: