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

What Are the Best Cognac Ratings or Competitions? The Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition and the Beverage Tasting Institute.

The Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition

This competition was initially for wine only and founded in 1939. In 2007, it began receiving entries for spirits. Awards are provided for gold, silver, and bronze medals. In 2009, there were 199 entries with 179 awarded medals.

Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition Logo

Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition Logo

The +: situated in the middle of the capital of world entertainment. Well organized event, business friendly, … increasingly referenced. Great longevity since 1939.

The -: the spirit rating is clearly an off-spring of the wine event, and one could say the spirit part of the event is in its introduction stage. In fact, the prices and logos state “Wine & Spirits” but website and other media references do not include the word ‘spirit’ or ‘spirits’, neither in presentations (photos …) which proves it is starting and not their focus. As a side note they have an olive oil competition integrated in the event so it should be called: ‘Las Angeles International Wine, Spirits and Olive Oil Competition’. I think they should also do coffee, tea and why not beer!


The Beverage Tasting Institute

The Beverage Testing Institute is based in Chicago, Illinois and was founded in 1981 with its initial focus on wine but later branching into the world of spirits and beer. They use a dedicated tasting laboratory in order to create consistent results and minimize external distractions. Each periodic tasting is conducted at the same time of day under identical conditions. The panelists are selected from the professional world of restaurants and publications under the leadership of director Jerald O’Kennard. Not all spirits are given a rating. Those of sufficient merit are awarded a point score between 80 and 100.

Beverage Tasting Institute

Beverage Tasting Institute

The institute seeks to produce “fair and impartial wine reviews for consumers.” Buying guides have appeared in All About Beer,, International Wine Review, Wine Enthusiast, Restaurant Hospitality, The New Yorker Magazine, and Wine & Spirits.

The +: highly recognized in the trade and used to promote to consumers. So it is working and it is clearly an official source. The spirit division is very seriously carried out and broken into departments: the whiskies, the bandies, the eaux-de-vie, … Just from the fact that they divide and organize ratings of spirits by family and rate them at different times and per family says a lot. I like the scientific ‘kind of’ style this organization has. I like the fact that they clearly mentioned that not everyone gets to win something. No idea if it is true but it sounds good.

The -: rather expensive and many boutiques brands do not apply/submit anything which makes it a safe heaven for the spirits produced by large corporations.

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