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A Look Into One Of The World’s Most Important Spirits Competitions

A behind the scenes look into the London Spirits Competition, one of the world’s most important spirits competitions.

The London Spirits Competition is one of the world’s most important spirits competitions. This is because unlike other competitions that judge spirits based on only its quality, London Spirits Competition covers the three main aspects of spirits that actually matter - Quality, Value, and Packaging. These three parameters are what buyers look at every time they’re adding spirits to their lists. The London Spirits Competition also offers international exposure to all winning spirits, which helps them step into the market they’re looking to get into.

Now, of course, the London Spirits Competition is a closed-door event - however, we’re taking you behind the scenes and giving you an overview of what actually goes on before, during, and after the competition.

  1. Flighting with experts and unpacking

Once all submissions have ended and entries have been done, bottles are flighted by our experts and unboxed at the warehouse according to the flights. This process takes about 10 days, to make sure no bottles are hampered with, and things are done the right way so there’s no mistake when the judging day approaches. So in a span of 10 days, about 3000 to 4500 bottles are flighted and unboxed, getting prepped for the judging day.

LSC Behind the scenes 2

  1. Quality check

Once bottles are unboxed and grouped, then comes quality check. Quality check is one of the most important parts in the competition process. It’s important to make sure the bottles are fine, nothing is broken, nothing is opened and spilled - or else it will hamper with the judging process on the judging day. The quality check takes about two days in our warehouse, to make sure all bottles are in impeccable condition.

  1. Scanning and data matching

To make sure all bottles are in the warehouse, and to prep them for the judging day - it’s important to get them scanned and get them matched with the data of the entrants. Here, our experts make sure that all bottles are matching with the data provided by the distillery and producer, for accurate judging.

  1. Judging sheets

Once all the work is done in the backend, the London Spirits Competition gets one step closer to the main judging day. However, before the judging day approaches, a main step that is taken is the prep of judging sheets. The judging sheets include all the parameters needed to judge each of the spirits. In the London Spirits Competition, these parameters include Quality, Value, and Packaging.

  1. Who are our judges?

The London Spirits Competition invites judges from across the globe. These judges include bartenders, bar managers, and industry experts who are involved in the direct buying and selling spirits trade. The judges are handpicked by us to make sure that all aspects of the spirits are judged, including how they would do on a retail shelf, how they would do in a restaurant, and the worth of the spirits according to its quality and packaging.


  1. Judging day

Once the judging day approaches, all of our judges gather at the venue, getting ready to taste and assess the spirits. Judges are split into teams, with each team including a bartender, and trade buyer involved in the direct buying of spirits around the world. Spirits that are entered in the London Spirits Competition are judged on the basis of Quality, Value, and Packaging. Judges look at every aspect of the spirits that would matter to the consumer. Quality, of course, ranks first - however, the retail price of the spirits, meaning if the spirits is actually worth the price tag it has on is also very important. And of course, there’s packaging.

“Packaging is very important. Bear in mind that when you first walk in the bar, you look at the bar and you might not be aware of what the products are but if the packaging pleases you, obviously, you most likely will go for it. So, that will make your decision easier in a way and obviously from the bartender’s perspective it will make our job more interesting because if the packaging has a bit of history behind it, we can take that as a line and just move forward and guide the guest throughout the whole experience” said Tiago Bira, bar manager at Goring Hotel, Belgravia. Bira was also one of the judges at the 2019 London Spirits Competition.

So in terms of judging, the London Spirits Competition covers every aspect that spirits need to excel in, in order to get on a restaurant or bar’s spirits list, and on retail shelves.

  1. Rejudging day

Post the first day of assessing spirits, the London Spirits Competition also has a rejudging day. This is well the judges gather, and re-taste spirits which have been ranked above 90 points to make sure there are no ties, and the scores they’ve allotted are accurate. For example, two spirits could have been tied for Spirits of the Year on the first day of judging, but the rejudging day would solve that matter as the judges would sit down and reevaluate the spirits and come to a final decision. This is also where all our special category awards are finalized.

The London Spirits Competition offers Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals - along with 11 special category awards, namely:

  • Spirit Of The Year

  • Vodka Of The Year

  • Rum Of The Year

  • Tequila Of The Year

  • Gin Of The Year

  • Whisky Of The Year

  • Distillery Of The Year

  • Best In Show By Country

  • Best Spirits Of The Year By Quality

  • Best Spirits Of The Year By Value

  • Best Spirits Of The Year By Package


  1. Validation week

Once the scores are allotted by judges, then the process of getting them validated starts. Our experts make sure that the spirits are assessed on all fair basis, and things are looking good on the scoring end. This process takes about one week before the winners are announced.

LSC Behind the scenes 1

  1. Winner announcement

Lastly, the London Spirits Competition announces their winners after the entire process is through and everything is validated. The list of winners is sent to trade professionals and spirits buyers across the globe. Winners are also backed by a year of digital promotion by London Spirits Competition. The digital promotion includes a press article announcing the winners separately, interviews with the distillery/spirits producer, and social media exposure for one year.

Call for domestic and international submission is now open for London Spirits Competition. Enter your spirits before 31 August 2024 to get super early bird pricing. Register now and ship later to save.

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