MARKETING/DESIGN/CONSUMER TRENDS/INSPIRATIONS Cognac & Brandy News for Consumers & Industry Experts

What are the Best Cognac Ratings or Competitions out there? Starting with the San Francisco World Spirits Competition

There is no real official and compelling cognac ratings or competitions out there. However, the World Spirits Competition in San Francisco attracts the largest number of cognac submissions.

This World Spirit Competition is carried out in San Francisco, it is not that old in comparison to many wine events. It was started in 2000 by Anthony Dias-Blue. Mr Blue is a highly recognized wine & spirits journalist who originally made his name as the wine and spirits editor of Bon Appétit, one of the largest food publication in the United States.

San Francisco World Spirits Competition Logo

San Francisco World Spirits Competition Logo

He also broadcasts on radios, KFWB and KLSX FM in Los Angeles and on WCBS radio in New York.  He is co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Tasting Panel Magazine and is a frequent contributor to Decanter, Robb Report, Celebrated Living, Virtuoso Life, and C Magazine. Mr. Blue is the author of The Complete Book of Mixed Drinks and its companion, The Complete Book of Spirits. Interestingly, Mr Blue is the executive director of the New York World Wine and Spirits Competition, which is another representative competition that I am presenting below, but also the San Francisco World Wine Competition.

The World Spirits Competition in San Francisco rates about 1200 entrants annually from 60 countries on average (exactly 1215 in 2012 from 60 countries) with “blind” tastings involving panels of expert judges selected each year from the spirits industry including world-renowned mixologists, spirits buyers, and media from across the United States.

The +: the earlier in the year the better. Consumers prefer recent/this year winners than last year winners. WSC is in March and results are in April. this competition is seriously done, executed and rather representative. All spirits competitions are subjective. This is the best competition in my opinion.

The -: judges are not international judges for the most part and rather represent the experts in the USA. From my experience I can say that not all world experts are the same. It would be nice to see international experts in the panel to offer a more worldly view, mostly when the competition is called World Spirits etc … Little appearance/representation in international trade events, for instance, Vinexpo, etc… They do appear in the Wine & Spirits Wholesaler of America trade show which is the equivalent of VINEXPO but for the USA only.

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