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USA Spirits Ratings: Spirits judged by Quality, Value, and Package.

The new Spirits Ratings looks to set a new benchmark for award-winning spirits by assessing them for their quality, their value for their money and what they look like with their packaging and design.

We’re told to never judge a book by its cover. Which is very much the approach taken by the majority of spirits competitions around the world that only judge a spirit by how it tastes, with no consideration at all for what it looks like, and often how much it costs. Beverage Trade Network hopes to change all that with its new global awards initiative, the USA Spirits Ratings (USR).

Key Dates

Early Bird Registration: Ends May 31, 2018
Warehouse Closes For Samples: July 5, 2018
Judging: July 23-24, 2018
Winners Announced: September 5, 2018

For a spirit to stand out in the USA Spirits Ratings it has to perform well in each of three separate judging criteria:

Quality. All spirits will be initially tasted blind to assess their quality and how drinkable they are they for consumers in their target area.

Value for money.  Spirits will then be assessed to see how much value for money they are offering their target spirits drinkers at that price point.

Packaging and design. As the majority of spirits is bought with our eyes, the USA Spirits Ratings will recognise spirits that stand out on shelf, or on a back bar, and will assess how well suited that design or packaging is to their target consumer group and at that price point.

Key Dates

Early Bird Registration: Ends May 31, 2018
Warehouse Closes For Samples: July 5, 2018
Judging: July 23-24, 2018
Winners Announced: September 5, 2018

Key Dates

Early Bird Registration: Ends May 31, 2018
Warehouse Closes For Samples: July 5, 2018
Judging: July 23-24, 2018
Winners Announced: September 5, 2018

Fee Schedule

$170 ends May 31, 2018
$220 from June 1 to June 15, 2018
$250 from June 16 to June 30, 2018

The USA Spirits Ratings looks to recognize, reward and help promote spirits brands that have successfully been created to identify with and target a specific spirits drinker. For any wine brand to earn its place on a retailer’s shelf or a bar's list - and then vitally stay there - they need to be marketable and consumer driven and not just produced in the general hope it can find enough people willing to sell and buy it.


Meet our 2018 Judges

David Nepove

Director of Mixology, Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits, CA, USA


USA Spirits Ratings Medals
Gold Medal

+90 Points

Silver Medal

+80 Points

Bronze Medal

+70 Points

Judging Formula

To win a USA Spirits Ratings award you will need to score highly in all three areas of our judging criteria. You might have an outstanding quality spirit, but if the price and packaging is not right, you will not be recognized by the USA Spirits Ratings. There is no point, for example, in having a 95 points if it does not look good or offer consumers great value for money. Those points mean it will remain highly respected within the trade, but it will also remain largely unsold on the shelf or languishing on a restaurant’s spirits list.

That is why USA Spirits Ratings is the leading spirits ratings in the USA with the rationale to rate spirits per the preferences of the consumer and trade and rewarding spirits as such. Spirits entries will be judged by their Quality, Value and Packaging.

Scoring System

Q (Quality Score) + Value Score (V) + Packaging Score (P) = USA Spirits Ratings Score.

A separate weighted score will be given for each of the three parts of the judging process. The scores will be added up to give a final score from which individual prizes will be awarded.

Quality Score: will be marked out of 50

Value Score: will be marked out of 25

Package Score: will be marked out of 25

Quality Score

Quality will be assessed based on how agreeable the spirits is for its target customer and chemical analysis. USR will measure quality by Appearance, Aroma, Body, Taste and Aftertaste.

Value Score

Value in this context means how well the spirits is priced based on its quality. If you think it offers excellent value, the score should be close to 100 of 100 and if you think it should be priced lower, then the score should be low. The metric to be used here is the retail price vs quality.

Packaging Score

Packaging in this context is measured by how well you think the spirits will be perceived by the consumer. This includes label, bottle colour, bottle shape and closure. This does not involve boxes, cartons and bags. It is how you think the product will be perceived when placed on spirits shelf amongst thousands of other spirits.

Who are the Judges?

The USA Spirits Ratings(USR) will be assessed and judged by a leading panel of top-level spirits buyers with current direct commercial buying responsibility. The list of judges will be drawn from leading retail chains, wholesalers, distributors and on-trade groups across a variety of channels and disciplines including multiple retailing, convenience stores, cash and carries, specialist retailers, casual and fine dining, hospitality and the travel industry.

From Our Blog


About the USA Spirits Ratings 2018

12/05/2018 The goal of the USA Spirits Ratings is to bring global attention to high-quality spirits that are consumer-driven. As a reflection of this consumer focus, spirits will be judged according to three different criteria: Quality, Value and Packaging. This scoring system marks a departure from other spirits competitions, where one single factor – such as taste or quality – tends to define how a spirit is evaluated.

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Super Early Bird Ends May 10

23/03/2018 The USA Spirits Ratings Is Coming to San Francisco in July. The Event will showcase spirits brands that score highly on Quality, Value and Packaging.

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