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Nation's Leading Restaurant Buyers Join The Bartender Spirits Awards Judging Panel

Photo for: Nation's Leading Restaurant Buyers Join The Bartender Spirits Awards Judging Panel

27/01/2020 Imagine your spirits brand being tasted and rated by an expert panel of leading bartenders, restaurant beverage buyers and bar directors from across the nation

At the Bartender Spirits Awards 2020, this will be the reality.

There are so many spirits brands competing with each other for the front row seats on a bar shelf, where they are the first one visible to the customers. In such a scenario, winning a medal can act as one of your most powerful marketing tool as well as a selling point. 

And that is where we come in. This competition is judged by a panel of leading bartenders, bar directors, and on-premise beverage buyers from across the USA.

The goal of the Bartender Spirits Awards is simple: to provide independent and honest reviews for brands targeting the U.S. bar trade. Using the tagline “Judged By Bartenders, Bar Managers and Off-Premise Managers For The On-Premise Industry,” the Bartender Spirits Awards will recognize, encourage, promote and celebrate excellence in the U.S. drinks industry.

Judged by bartenders, bar managers and off-premise managers for the on-premise industry, Bartender Spirits Awards aims to deliver the best spirits for on-premise sector in USA.

The top two questions that bartenders will be attempting to answer as they review spirits are:

1. “Would we stock this?” and
2. "Will the consumer buy the 2nd glass".

Each Spirit Brand will be rated on:

1. Mixability
2. Balance and Versatility
3. Taste, Mouthfeel and Finish
4. Package
5. Price


Judging Panel at 2019 Bartender Spirits Awards
A quick group photo with the BSA team,
After the BSA 2019 Judging Session



Preparing to Commence the Judging Session
Judges getting ready for the
Bartender Spirits Awards 2019 Judging Session


Get Your Spirits Rated By Leading Bartenders & Restaurant Buyers


Craig Schoettler
Executive Director of Beverage,
MGM Resorts International

Natasha Mesa
Head Bartendress,
Deadshot PDX

Juyoung Kang
Lead Bartender & Mixologist,
The Dorsey

Patrick Williams
National Beverage Director,
Punch Bowl Social

Gregory Westcott
Beverage Director,
Cocina Hermanas

Paula Lukas
Bar Manager & Head Bartender,
NUR, New York

Meg Abraham
Lead Bartender & Mixologist
Commons Club , Virgin Hotel

Jonathan Miller
Lead Bartender,
The Phoenician Resort

View All Judges


Judging procedure

The judging panel of the Bartender Spirits Awards will consist entirely of top bartenders at U.S. restaurants, bars, pubs, and clubs.

In some cases, these bartenders may also be cocktail consultants for on-premise establishments or play an important buying role for their on-premise establishment.

Medals will be awarded to those spirits that meet very specific judging criteria, with a goal of identifying spirits that should become additions to bar inventories. Double Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals are awarded to the best-performing spirits based on the following metrics: taste; packaging; and price.

Medal winners will be showcased in the Bartenders Spirits TOP 100 On-Premise Spirits Guide, which will be distributed to thousands of bartenders in the U.S. in 2020.

While stocking their bar inventories, the bartenders look for some specific characteristics in the spirits brands that they wish to stock up their bar shelves with. Knowing what the bartenders desire in their inventory portfolio is a definite hack to growing your on-premise spirits distribution.

1. Mixability

SCA Judging Process

How well the spirit mixes with food, as well as chasers. Does it go well with food or not? A spirit that mixes well, is something that customers definitely love. How well the spirit goes down with the accompanying food and chasers is a good indicator of how the spirit goes with the heart of your consumer.

2. Balance & Versatility

BSA Judging Process

Balance of the spirit refers to the flavour and aroma. A well-rounded, full-flavored, and balanced spirit is a much more desirable stocking option for the back-bar. A spirit in which all dimensions make a harmonious whole for the customer to be fully satisfied by. The more versatile a spirit is, the higher the probability of it being ordered with various options on the menu.

3. Taste

For a consumer to enjoy their drink, taste, arguably, might be the most important factor. A good tasting spirit or liqueur is almost always reordered. Some spirits can be put as bland, but a lot of them have a distinctive flavor to them that characterizes the brand and leaves the consumer craving for more.

4. Mouthfeel

Mouthfeel is the physical sensation a food or drink creates in the mouth, including the tongue and the roof of the mouth. The term is best-known for its use in wine and spirits tasting, but it also applies to other beverages, such as coffee, tea and beer, and is central to food rheology (the science of food textures). Consider the mouthfeel to be the personality of your spirits brand. This will be the determining factor of customer satisfaction.

5. Finish

SCA Judging Process

The sensory impact of the spirit after it has been swallowed (or spat). Spirits can be said to have a long or short finish. A long finish is almost always a good sign, unless ofcourse the flavor is not to the taster's appeal. If the consumer is spending on the spirits, they would want to relish the flavors of your brand and leave for home with the pleasant aftertaste that your brand gave them.

6. Package 

BSA Judging Process

The packaging is essentially the face of any spirits brand. Their creative design, back-bar appeal, and functionality (including shape, size, weight, and ease of pouring) are what appeal to the bartender. Ultimately, they want their bar shelf to look not just good, they want it to look great. They want it to look unique.

7. Price

BSA Judging Process

The objective is to understand how a particular spirit is priced vis-à-vis its peers. In today’s competitive marketplace, relative value is a very important consideration.


Bartender Spirits Awards gathers the top on-premise buyers, bar managers, and bartenders who have a direct influence on the US on-premise market.

Grow Your On-Premise Brand Presence In The US Market by put your spirits in front of them and get rated by Mixability, Balance & Versatility, Price, Packaging, and Taste, Mouthfeel, & Finish. Save up to $55 per spirit entry.

BSA Entry Process & Fees

Deadline For Submission Is Approaching Fast

Leading spirits brands from around the world now have an opportunity to grow their business and gain the attention of top on-premise buyers, Bar managers, bartenders, and influencers within the U.S. on-premise industry. Time to submit your spirits in the 2020 Bartender Spirits Awards.

KEY DATES

Special Pricing: Ends April 22 , 2020

Warehouse Closes For Samples: July 20, 2020

Judging: August 13, 2020

Winners Announced: August 31, 2020

FEE SCHEDULE (Per Spirit)

$135 - Till April 22, 2020 (Special Pricing)
$165 - Regular Rates
$190 - Late Registration 

Quantity Discount Now Available

3 to 9 entries: 10% discount
10 to 14 entries: 15% discount
15 or more entries: 20% discount

(Price in USD)

International & Domestic Submissions Open. Grow Your On-Premise Brand Presence.