2019’s London Spirits Competition bigger and better than before!


If you think that having a drink is fun then join the UK alcohol business and know that competition for spirits business in the UK is serious. Identifying your brand’s USP is essential if you stand a chance of creating a market. If you do create a market then your brand can probably make it in any market around the world.

Exclusively developed by Beverage Trade Network the US drinks events, services, business and publishing group, the London Spirits Competition judges the entries on a unique mix of quality, value for money and packaging. In essence how the consumer judges products.

With entrants to the competition doubling in a year the London Spirits Competition judging on Friday 22nd March was always going to be a fiercely fought competition. Many well known judges from the leading bars and hotels of London included D&D Group, Annabel’s Club in Berkley Square, The Goring Hotel, The Waldorf Hotel, Roka, Nobu, Dim Tui Pung, The Bloomsbury Club amongst many others. These establishments really set the standard for how bars are run, their range, service and quality not just in London but across the world.

This group of bartenders, mixologists, brand ambassadors and traders make a formidable experienced set of professionals judging these ‘spiriteux’ for their all round competence in this fiercely competitive of markets.

All entrants are judged initially blind without sight of the label, bottle and presentation, so that the technical aspects of the product can be judged equally. As a long time spirits taster retorted when asked about labels in the context of blind tasting the sight of a label is worth a lifetime of experience. Quality on its own is a valid contributor to the essence of enjoyment and requires to be seen in isolation. Indeed, quality in itself may be that all important differentiator that is required to make success in the UK and global markets.

Quality of spirits is about their colour, their nose and the taste especially the finish. The quality of spirit is telling especially on the nose and finish. Judges are seeking those aromas which really develop in the glass, representative of the essential elements from whence they come and the skill of the distillers art of blending and selection. Equally the finish must be smooth and characterful, which may sound contradictory, but therein lies the skill of the distiller and to some extent the experience of the judge.

However quality in this objective arena is not the only basis on which the market selects products. Inevitably price has its part to play and for mass markets its positioning is critical when seeking commercial success. Today though, there is a different aspect to price as a differentiator. ‘Reassuringly expensive’ was an add line by one of the most successful beer brands, Stella Artois, in the UK for over 25 years. This perspective of the market is becoming ever more important as consumers seek out unique exclusive experiences which they seek to reward themselves.

Winners of the 2019 London Spirits Competition would be announced on 30th April 2019.