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Winning formula

The results of the 2023 London Spirits Competition are finally out.

This year a record number of entrants were hoping for the much-coveted bronze, silver, and gold medals. There were around 2000 spirits brands represented, which were sent in from more than 80 countries. The competition prides itself on consistently being assessed by a top panel of judges, consisting of some of the world’s leading figures from the hospitality sector.

The competition judges spirits with both the on-trade and consumers in mind. Spirits are rated against three main criteria: quality, value and packaging. To be a medal winner, spirits must show a high rating in all the three factors, with the main focus on quality.

Some of the country’s top bartenders and spirits buyers gathered from 22-24 March at St Mary’s Church in Marylebone, London, where they sniffed, swirled and tasted their way through a vast array of gins, vodkas, and whiskies as well as a range of more esoteric spirits.

Judging the London Spirits Competition | Image copyright Simon Turton

This year there were 367 entries from the Australia, followed by 303 products from the UK and 138 from the USA. With 695 gins submitted, this was the most popular spirits category. Rum and whisky were the second and third most popular spirit, respectively.

Commenting on this year’s event Sid Patel, CEO of Beverage Trade Netowrk (the organiser of the competition) said: “The London Spirits Competition is becoming more widely known in the trade with each passing year, and as a result we are receiving an increased number of entries.

“I have to say I am pleasantly surprised at the increased number of entries this year as the pandemic resulted in many drinks companies putting their NPD on hold and focusing on their core operations instead. This is just testament to the increasingly good reputation of the competition as word spreads in the industry that we offer something a bit different from other events.”

The judges not only applauded the quality of this year’s entrants, but also felt that the criteria used to judge the competition, where the drinks are assessed on their packaging, design and commercial viability as well as taste was not just a gimmick, but something that gave the awards more credibility and gravitas.

Here at Hand Crafted Drinks Magazine we were invited to attend one of the judging days, when we met with Sid Patel and many of the judges. The feedback from the judges about the value of the competition was unanimously positive.

Every year the judges are introduced to many spirits brands that they would not otherwise be aware of and this is vital for the producers whose spirits brands can find their way onto the shelves of some of the most prestigious venues in London and across the UK.

Along with awarding bronze, silver and gold medals, the judges also decide on one Spirit of the Year; this year that accolade went to Downpour from North Uist Distillery in Scotland, which scored an incredible 98 points; the judges’ tasting notes stated: “A London dry gin with juniper, citrus and spice on nose and palate with well rounded and rich texture with hints of cardamom and liquorice towards the end.”

Based on the success of this year’s competition the bar for 2024 has been raised. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the London Spirits Competition and to supporting this very worthwhile competition.

To see the full list of all the winners follow this LINK

Categorized: Competition