The first-ever USA Spirits Ratings will take place in San Francisco, California on July 23-24, 2018. The event is already attracting attention within the spirits industry because this awards competition will use entirely new criteria for judging spirits. In contrast to the traditional spirits scoring system, which only recognizes technical expertise and taste, the new scoring system of the USA Spirits Ratings will use a combination of three different criteria: Quality, Value and Packaging.

The USA Spirits Ratings is looking to build on the success of the London Spirits Competition, which took place earlier this year. Both events are part of a global awards initiative by Beverage Trade Network, which has already had extraordinary success hosting similar events for the alcohol beverage trade around the world.

The core mission of the USA Spirits Ratings is to find world-class spirits that will have immediate consumer appeal. While the quality of the spirit is obviously of greatest importance, other factors – such as how a spirit looks on a shelf, the overall design and presentation of the spirit (including the label), and the relative value that a spirit provides within a price category – also play a very important role in the whole spirits drinking experience.

According to Sid Patel, Founder and CEO of Beverage Trade Network, the goal of this event is to shine a spotlight on those brands and products that consumers actually want to buy. “Obviously, technical expertise and quality will always matter,” says Patel. “But we are looking to extend the conversation about what makes a great spirit by considering other factors as well.”

Judging criteria for the USA Spirits Ratings

For a spirit to receive a high overall score, it will need to perform well according to three major criteria:

  • Quality – Quality will be assessed using factors such as Appearance, Aroma, Body, Taste and Aftertaste.
  • Value – Value will take into account the retail price of the spirit, with a focus on how a spirit is priced relative to other competing products.
  • Packaging – Packaging refers to both the design of the bottle and label, as well as the overall brand image.

These three factors will play the most important role in determining which spirits are awarded medals in the competition. As Patel points out, “These criteria were really designed with the consumer in mind. A spirit that performs well according to all three criteria is one that consumers will want to buy on a retail shelf or order at a restaurant.”

The problem faced by many spirits buyers today, says Patel, is that it can be challenging to make sense of the many brands in the marketplace today. “We are hoping that this award competition will make it easier for consumers to find exactly what they are looking for, regardless of occasion.”


Scoring system for the USA Spirits Ratings

A specific weighting for each of these three judging criteria will result in a final score. It is on the basis of the final score that a spirit will be eligible for a Gold, Silver or Bronze prize. The weighting of the judging criteria is as follows:

  • Quality, scored from 0 to 50
  • Value, scored from 0 to 25
  • Packaging, scored from 0 to 25

Q (Quality Score) + Value Score (V) + Packaging Score (P) = USA Spirits Ratings Score

Using this formula, Quality will be responsible for determining 50 percent of a spirit’s final score. However, simply scoring the maximum number of points within this category will not be enough to win an overall Gold, Silver or Bronze award. The scoring system for these awards is as follows:

  • Gold: A score of 90+
  • Silver: A score of 80 to 89
  • Bronze: A score of 70 to 79

According to Patel, this scoring system has already proven to be very successful at other events, such as the London Spirits Competition.

The panel of judges will include commercially focused buyers within the alcohol beverage industry, including a number of prominent individuals with buying authority for retail stores, restaurants, bars, taverns, and hotels.


Key Dates

Super Early Bird Registration: Ends May 10, 2018

Warehouse closes for samples: July 5, 2018

Judging: July 23-24, 2018

Winners announced: September 5, 2018


Fee Schedule

$170 ends May 10, 2018

$220 from May 11 to June 15, 2018

$250 from June 16 to June 30, 2018


For more information on how to enter your spirits, please visit


For additional questions on the USA Spirits Ratings, including details on how to become part of the competition, please contact Sid Patel at:


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