Upcoming Spirits Tasting Competition Targets New Distilleries

Distillery University recently announced it will offer a new tasting competition for the industry with a unique twist.

In an industry dominated by big brands, this competition will give small distilleries a way to get noticed. Entrants to the competition are limited to those licensed distilleries that have been in business for five years or less, according to a statement from the University.

image via Distillery University

The competition will take place in Spokane, Washington, in May 2021, with a deadline to register entries of the end of April.

“Our goal is to create a platform for new distillers to get the insight, promotion and exposure they might not otherwise have access to,” Rockwell Rutter, CEO of Distillery University, said in a prepared statement. 

Distillery University, which is a long-time provider of online and hands-on education for craft distillers, said most of the winner’s circles in whiskey competitions are full of big brands who have the funds and experience to stay at the top.

This competition is geared towards giving startups and new operations competition at the same level. At the same time, this is an opportunity for those same distilleries to get an unbiased critique of their spirits from a group of experts.

A panel of 15 judges will analyze the spirits blindly at the competition. They will provide both a rating score and tasting notes that will be released to the distillery. Winners will be awarded medals, though select top winners will be offered a product placement meeting with a large spirits retailer.

“We believe the Next Great Distillery has yet to be found, and this is how we plan to do it,” Rutter said.  

Distillery University has provided education for craft distillers since 2012. They’ve offered a fully comprehensive curriculum for those wishing to enter the industry, and there are nearly 1,500 students in the university.