The NYISC is part of the International Beverage Competition group that holds international beer, wine, and spirits competitions in New York, Berlin, Melbourne, and Hong Kong, and continues to grow in stature as more producers and trade buyers embrace the philosophy of a blind tasting competition with only real trade buyers judging the competition.
What sets it apart from other international beverage competitions is its TRADE ONLY blind judging panel. The retail store buyer, sommelier, restaurant beverage director, hotelier, distributor and importer are the judges. These judges, whose livelihood rely upon their skill set, truly know what the consumer wants, as they receive on a daily basis the feedback from the consumer of what is good and what will sell.
The medals are awarded on a merit basis by a majority vote. The judges are instructed to grant no awards or medals when, in their opinion, the spirits are not ones they would import, distribute, buy or sell in their businesses based on product and price category. Judges are asked to evaluate the spirits in silence until all panel members have finished their evaluation and then open a discussion to reach a consensus. Judge votes are recorded by a NYISC staff moderator. If there is a significant difference among the judges’ votes, panellists are encouraged to reach a consensus and, if needed, seek counsel from the Head Judge.
The judges were:
Ben Lindsay – Director, Garnish Communications
Ben Manchester – Bar Manager, Hubbard & Bell at Soho House
Brian Calleja – Bar Manager at the Bloomsbury Club
Tobias Gorn – Consultant, Boisdale
Rui Costa – Head Bartender, Pollen Street Social
Jason Window – Business Development Manager, Mr Fogg’s Gin
Sarah Duffill – Bar Manager, The Trading House
David T Smith – Founder, Craft Distilling Expo
Cheery Constable – Freelance Wine & Spirits Writer
Nikolai Clerc – Bar Manager, Street XO
Sam Mitchell – Bar Manager, Gillray’s (Marriot Hotels)
Nicola Thomson – Director, 1571
Luca Cordiglieri – President of the UKBG
Anna Marnez – Heads Bartender, Street XO
The results from each competition are printed in The Spirits Business magazine and also published online, while at the end of the year the most impressive expressions are named best in class at a glittering awards ceremony held in London.