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When stocking your retail shelves, these are the spirits you need to order first. Handpicked by some of the best experts in the industry, the USA Spirits Ratings have announced their 2021 winners list. This year, the competition raised its bar with entries from over 49 countries, with the United States, France, Mexico, and the United Kingdom leading the way.
Now in its fourth year, the USA Spirits Ratings continues to shine the light on those spirits that deliver in every aspect and deserve a spot on your store’s shelves. Each spirit is judged on the basis of its quality, value, and packaging. The competition has curated this specific judging process based precisely on how consumers pick their spirits.
Tamir Ben-Shalom tasting spirits at the 2021 USA Spirits Ratings
The quality of a spirit refers to its taste, versatility, and mixability. The competition also measures how much consumers would enjoy a spirit, and whether they would come back for more. The value defines if the juice inside is worth the price of the product. Then comes packaging, and while the emphasis is on the quality of the spirit, the competition also considers the importance of a spirit’s packaging. The packaging of a spirit is the first interaction consumers have with a drink and is a major driving factor in the drinker’s buying decision.
Along with a fool-proof judging process, the USA Spirits Ratings is home to one of the best judging panels out there, consisting of some of the top retail buyers, bartenders, bar managers, directors, and other industry experts. This year’s judging panel hosted names like Bruce Abbott (Spirits Category Manager at Brown Jug Alaska), Devin Walden (Spirits Buyer, Total Wine & More), Orcun Turkay (Corporate Director of Food and Beverage for Shaner Hotel Group), David Rowe (Lead Bartender at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts) and many more.
The competition saw winners from various categories, with the most popular being whiskey, tequila, gin, vodka, and rum. After winning the Spirit of the Year award at the USA Spirits Ratings 2020, Barr Hill Gin once again impressed judges, continuing to prove its stellar quality and versatility. Once again, the gin was crowned Spirit of the Year, along with Gin of the Year, Best in Show by Country, and Best Spirit by Quality. According to judges at the USA Spirits Ratings, ‘there are so many places Barr Hill gin can travel, and it lends itself beautifully to be sipped on its own or to be made into a cocktail’.
Following suit was Uncle Nearest’s 1820 Premium Single Barrel Whiskey, which has recently made its mark amongst both retailers and consumers. CEO Fawn Weaver continues to carry on Nearest Green’s legacy by producing some great Tennessee whiskeys. The 1820 Premium Single Barrel Whiskey has been crowned Whiskey of the Year.
Tequila of the Year comes from none other than Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s Teremana Tequila. The Teremana Reposado won a total of 93 points, proving that celebrity-owned spirits can also be committed to quality. In fact, the brand, still in its first year, is already on track to sell 300,000 cases, and ship another 400,000.
Each of the winning spirits excels in terms of quality, value, and packaging - and with top scores from judges, they’re bound to be grabbed off of retail shelves quickly.
Spirit of the Year - Barr Hill Gin
Vodka of the Year - Hangar 1 Buddha's Hand Citron
Rum of the Year - Puerto Angel Anejo
Tequila of the Year - Teremana Tequila Reposado
Gin of the Year - Barr Hill Gin
Whiskey of the Year - Uncle Nearest 1820 Premium Single Barrel Whiskey
Absinthe of the Year - La Fée Parisienne Absinthe Supérieure
Cognac of the Year - Cognac Maxime Trijol XO Grande Champagne
Brandy of the Year - Brandy Sainte Louise
Liqueur of the Year - Muyu Vetiver Gris
Distillery of the Year - Caledonia Spirits
Best Spirit by Quality - Barr Hill Gin
Best Spirit by Value - Emperor Heritage
Best Spirit by Package - The Botanist Islay Dry Gin
United States - Barr Hill Gin
France - Brandy Sainte Louise
The United Kingdom - The Botanist Islay Dry Gin
Mexico - Puerto Angel Anejo
Netherlands - Muyu Vetiver Gris
Ireland - Bushmills Black Bush
Australia - Wolf Lane Distillery Tropical Gin