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With so many spirits brands competing for the back bar space, the medal winners at the third Bartenders Spirits Awards could be the place to look for where spirits are judged by top bartenders and mixologists for the on-premise market of the USA.
The results from the third edition of the Bartender Spirits Awards are now out and here are the highlights from America's leading spirits competition for the bar industry.
The Bartender Spirits Awards judge spirits across the parameters of Mixability, Balance and Versatility, Taste, Mouthfeel and Finish, Package and Price.
This competition recognizes that bartenders are the true influencers – their passions and tastes provide direction for the consumer, especially via their guidance with wine, beer or spirit recommendations. “We really wanted a way to recognize those spirits that would be a great addition to any bar and that are completely on-trend in terms of packaging and price,” said Sid Patel, Founder, and CEO of Beverage Trade Network. “Whether bartenders are looking to plug a very specific gap in their existing spirits inventory, or construct an entirely new cocktail menu from scratch, what better advice could they get than from fellow bartenders?”
Medals were awarded to those spirits that met very specific judging criteria, with a goal of identifying spirits that should become additions to bar inventories. Each spirits brand was evaluated on Mixability, Balance and Versatility, Taste, Mouthfeel and Finish, Package and Price.
Jessica Schjavland at the judging event of 2021 Bartender Spirits Awards
Bartender Spirits Awards was able to resume in-person judging in 2021 where America’s top bartenders came to review brands from more than 45 different countries.
Here are the top winners of the 2021 Bartenders Spirits Awards
Spirit of the Year - Uncle Nearest 1820 Premium Single Barrel Whiskey
Distillery of the Year - Uncle Nearest
Best Value of the Year - Jean Fillioux Cognac Grande Champagne La Pouyade
Best Package of the Year - Green Hat Gin Citrus Floral Gin
Liqueur of the Year - Amaro Di Angostura
Gin of the Year - Green Hat Gin Citrus Floral
Vodka of the Year - Cylinder Vodka
Tequila of the Year - Espanita Anejo Tequila
World Whisky of the Year - Uncle Nearest 1820 Premium Single Barrel Whiskey
Brandy/ Cognac of the Year - Jean Fillioux Cognac Grande Champagne La Pouyade
Rum of the Year - Terra Mariae Spiced Rum
The 2021 competition saw more than 850 submissions from 45 countries. The United States had the top submissions followed by Mexico and France.
"Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the industry,'' explained Sid Patel, CEO of Beverage Trade Network, the organizing company of BSA, "and when we come out of this, we hope to see a strong rebound in the hospitality sector. The increased number of submissions in 2021 truly demonstrates the faith our industry has in the long term outlook of our hospitality industry".
How the scoring works
M (Mixability Score) + B (Balance and Versatility) + T (Taste, Mouthfeel and Finish) Score) + Package Score (P) + Value Score (V) = Bartenders Spirits Awards Final Score.
Nicky Beyries and Zachary Faden at the judging event of 2021 Bartender Spirits Awards
How well the product is blended or combined for cocktails.
2. Balance and Versatility
Balance of the spirit refers to the flavor and aroma. A well-rounded, full-flavored, and balanced spirit is a much more desirable stocking option for the back-bar.
3. Taste, Mouthfeel and Finish
This is the physical sensation the drink creates in the mouth, including the tongue and the roof of the mouth. It is the sensory impact of the spirit after it has been swallowed (or spat).
Creative design, label quality, label details, back-bar appeal, and functionality (including shape, size, weight, and ease of pouring) should be considered.
The objective is to understand how a particular spirit is priced and what value it offers. The greater the quality offered for the price, the greater the value score will be.
Each category is given a score out of 100 first and then a separate weighted score will be given for each of the parts of the judging process. The scores will be added up to give a final score from which individual prizes will be awarded.
Entrants will be able to see detailed feedback on each criteria which will help them gain trade feedback.
The judging panel of the Bartender Spirits Awards included top bartenders from U.S. restaurants, bars, pubs, and clubs. In order to be selected as a judge, bartenders need to demonstrate their expertise within the on-premise industry.
Winners will also be promoted on BTN’s new direct-to-consumer portals Los Angeles Drinks Guide, London Drinks Guide, New York Drinks Guide, Chicago Drinks Guide, and San Francisco Drinks Guide along with BTN’s trade portals Bartenders Business and BevRoute.
The top 100 spirits for bars will also be marketed to thousands of bartenders and mixologists via the Top 100 On-Premise Spirits website.
About the Bartender Spirits Awards
The aim of the Bartender Spirits Awards is to provide independent and honest reviews for brands who are looking to enter the U.S. on-premise industry. The judging panel consists of some of the most renowned names in the U.S. bar industry, all of them with extensive expertise within the on-premise industry. The result is a relevant and practical source of reference for bartenders, bar managers, bar owners, and other industry professionals when making purchasing decisions for their establishments.
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