The competition

The year 2020 has faced the entire spirits industry with major challenges. In particular, the sales channels that are so important for spirits, such as the HORECA, duty free, as well as various trade fairs and established festivals, have suffered greatly. It is still difficult to predict how things will develop in the coming months, which makes it extremely difficult to plan major events.

In this situation we have decided to break new ground with the Spirits Award in 2021. Instead of selecting the best national and international spirits in a single tasting session lasting several days, we are switching to monthly, theme-specific tastings at the beginning of next year. From our point of view, this procedure offers, in addition to the so important planning security, some further advantages for all participating distilleries:
• For the first time, seasonal marketing occasions can be taken into account the spirits can be tasted and presented at the right time of the year. Thus, winning spirits can be presented and marketed at the perfect time.
• The monthly awards give the distilleries repeated occasions during the year to communicate with their customers and the press.
• The permanent media presence of the Spirits Award strengthens the brand and thus increases the value of the award.

Hand in hand with this reorientation goes the significantly expanded communication strategy, which guarantees the participants of the ISW even more awareness and benefit. The new marketing tools include...
• Monthly, high-reach online awards ceremonies (successfully implemented for the first time for the ISW 2020)
• Intensive editorial support of the tastings in the various trade magazines of Meininger Verlag, especially BRANNT, plus presence in FIZZZ, Getränke Zeitung, Meiningers Sommelier etc.
• Permanent reporting through the new ISW website and the strong social media channels.

However, despite all the changes, you can rely on important constants: on the highly professional analysis, description and evaluation of your spirits by proven experts and - associated with this - detailed sensory feedback that enables benchmarking.

An overview of the monthly thematic tastings as well as the existing and additional communication possibilities can be found on the following pages.

We look forward to tasting and evaluating your spirits and presenting the best spirits to enthusiasts all over the world in an even broader and more publicity-effective way!

The Tasting Process

Registered spirits are allocated to groups of judges, each consisting of fi ve to six tasters. Under the leadership of the head judge, the jury blind-tastes the spirits in thematic fl ights. Each jury member tastes each spirit and makes an objective assessment. Unlike in many other competitions, a comparative
assessment is neither made nor openly discussed. This ensures that each spirit is given the full attention it deserves. The results of each jury member are checked for completeness by the head judge on each table before being recorded electronically. The final score is ultimately the average of all submitted assessments.

Rastal nosing glasses are used throughout for tasting, to ensure optimum comparability. Using a 100-point system, each judge rates the samples on the basis of their appearance, aroma, taste and overall impression. Additionally – and this is another special feature of the ISW – the spirits are described according to their aroma using an aroma wheel specially designed for each type of spirit. This shows the fl avour profile ofthe product at a glance and provides real added value for both end consumers and producers alike.

Quality cannot be read off the label

The International Spirits Competition ISW is a valuable aid not only for the trade but also for the consumer. Our medals are truly worth their weight in gold, as they are now so well known and widespread that they represent a seal of quality for both trade and consumers. Take the opportunity to win an award, present your spirit to this unique, international jury of experts and increase the awareness of your product with an ISW medal.