The journey of USA Spirits Ratings and how its becoming America's most relevant spirits competition

26/02/2024 USA Spirits Ratings and Its Impact on the American Spirits Industry

The journey of USA Spirits Ratings (USR) is a testament to the evolution of the spirits industry and its approach to evaluating and recognizing quality beverages. Established to provide a comprehensive and impartial assessment of spirits, USR has played a pivotal role in shaping the way spirits are evaluated, marketed, and perceived in the industry.

The competition is now in its 7th year and comes with the philosophy of being America’s most relevant wine, beer, and spirits competition as it aims to reward products that win by quality, value, and package. USR emerged in response to the need for a modern, consumer-driven approach to spirits evaluation. It was founded to create a platform that not only assessed the quality of spirits but also considered their market appeal and overall value to the end consumer.

Image: The last edition rolled out a product showcase of top winners where judges did testimonial videos and product round-up videos were generated as additional value to entrants. You can see the videos here in the USA Spirits Ratings video section.

Evaluation Criteria:

USR introduced a novel judging format that differed from traditional spirits competitions. It focused not only on the intrinsic quality and taste of the spirits but also on factors such as packaging, value for money, and overall marketability. This comprehensive approach aimed to reflect how consumers perceive and purchase spirits.

Image: Ankita Okate, Events Head and BTN’s Growth Officer.

Judging Process:

The judging process at USR is rigorous and involves a panel of industry experts, including bartenders, spirits buyers, and other key stakeholders. The blind tasting sessions are complemented by a robust scoring system that evaluates various aspects, providing a holistic view of the spirits' quality and market potential.

Impact on the Industry:

The recognition and accolades received from USA Spirits Ratings have significantly impacted brands' market positioning. Winning a USR award signifies not just exceptional quality but also consumer appeal, boosting brand credibility and market visibility.

Image: Dwayne Johnson posting on his Instagram. The Rock’s Teremana Reposado won Tequila of the Year when judges who are the real trade buyers blind tasted the product for quality and value.

Consumer-Centric Approach:

USR's emphasis on consumer preferences and marketability has encouraged spirits producers to focus not only on crafting superior products but also on understanding and meeting consumer demands. It has inspired innovation and creativity in product development and marketing strategies.

Image: Kimberly Shannon Beer, Wine and Liquor Specialist at Giant Eagle, Inc., Judge at USA Ratings.

Image: Nichole Simpson, Senior Wine Buyer at Walmart & a judge at USA Wine Ratings tells us about the mindset and the decision-making process. Nichole was the judge in the first years of USA Ratings.

Advancing Brand Visibility:

For spirits brands, achieving accolades at USR has proven instrumental in expanding market reach and visibility. The recognition gained from winning awards helps brands stand out in a crowded market, attracting consumers and garnering attention from distributors and retailers.

Image: Behind the scene picture of the setup process of USA Spirits Ratings

Future Prospects:

As the spirits industry continues to evolve, USA Spirits Ratings remains committed to recognizing and rewarding excellence in spirits production. The platform's forward-thinking approach ensures that it stays relevant and influential in guiding consumer choices and shaping industry trends.


USA Spirits Ratings' journey exemplifies the shift towards a more consumer-focused and market-driven evaluation of spirits, emphasizing not just quality but also market appeal and value—a paradigm that continues to shape the spirits industry in the United States and beyond. If you are a spirit brand looking to grow in the USA market, USA Spirits Ratings offers you an amazing opportunity to get your brand reviewed by real trade buyers. Get product feedback and professional tasting notes.

Get rated by Quality, Value, and Packaging by the top trade buyers in the USA. The international submission deadline is May 31, 2024. Here is how to enter.