1,400 spirits around the world were judged at the 13th Annual 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the most reputable and recognized spirits awards competition in the world. This year’s event was the largest competition in their 13-year history. The San Francisco World Spirits Competition, started by the James Beard Award-winning author, Anthony Dias Blue, was conducted from March 21st to March 24th 2013.
The 2013 Competition had record entries, up 17% from last year. Distillers and importers submitted 1407 spirits from 63 countries into 85 different classifications. This year Suntory from Tokyo, Japan, was awarded “The Tasting Panel Magazine Distillery of the Year“, “Importer of the Year” was captured by Pernod Ricard USA, New York, NY, while the “Director’s Award” was won by William Grant & Sons, New York.
Best in Show Awards, which are the top five awards of the event, went to 8 Viboras Espandin Mezcal from Oaxaca in the Best Mezcal and Best in Show Unaged White spirit.
Best Extra-Aged Rum and Best in Show Aged White went to Barcelo Rum from the Dominican Republic, celebrating its 30th
anniversary this year.
Best Single Malt Scotch 20 Years & Over & Best in Show-Whisky went to Jura from Whyte and Mackay importers, Best Calvados and Best in Show – Brandy went to Berneroy from Camus Wine & Spirits of France and Best Cream Liqueur and Best in Show Liqueur went to Chila Orchata Cream Liqueur from the Sazerac Company.
“If you look back upon this competition, which I’ve been judging at for 13 years, as go the winners, goes the marketplace. Prior to SFWSC, categories such as Cachaça, Pisco and even Mezcal were relatively unknown. This is the best competition I judge in and the pool of judges only gets better every year in terms of experience and dedication to the art of distilled products,” stated Timothy McDonald, President of Wine Spoken Here.
Top awards in each category:
Each year, the leading spirit in a category receives the title of “Best” of that category. In the White Spirits other category winners included “Best Vodka” won by Absolut ELYX Vodka ($50) of Sweden imported by Pernod Ricard;
“Best Flavored Vodka” went to Miodula Vodka ($35) for its Presidential Blend Honey Vodka of Distilleries Group Toorank of Poland imported by MHW of Manhasset, NY;
“Best Gin” went to the classic Beefeater ($20) imported by Pernod Ricard;
“Best White Rum” went to Miami Club ($28) of Destileria Caneca of Jamaica from Miami, FL;
“Best Gold Rum” went to Screech Rum ($15) of Jamaica imported by MS Walker;
“Best Flavored Rum” was awarded to Sailor Jerry ($22) of the Virgin Islands imported by William Grant & Sons;
“Best Over-proofed Rum” (108-proof) went to Panama Red ($30) of the Liber Group of Panama;
“Best Cachaça” was given to Maison Leblon Cachaça ($30) of Minas Gerais, Brazil imported by MHW;
“Best Soju” went to Myeongin Andong ($26) of Korea; “Best Pisco” went to Pisco Porton ($40) from Destileria La Caravedo of Peru;
“Best Other White Spirit” went to Mozart Chocolate Dry White Spirit ($42) of Mozart Distillerie of Austria.
Best of the Tequila category included “Best Silver” (which also won Best Tequila) for Abreojos ($29.99) imported by Abreojos Spirits;
“Best Reposado Tequila” went to Alquimia Organic Reposado Tequila, Los Altos de Jalisco, Mexico ($54), imported by Tierra Madre from Oxnard, California who also won the “Best Añejo” category for its Alquimia Anejo Tequila ($60); and the “Best Extra-Aged Anejo Tequila” went to Gran Centenario ($121) of Casa Cuervo Mexico imported by Proximo Spirits of Jersey City, NJ.
Continuing its growing popularity, the Bourbon category this year grew 33% in terms of entrants. Winners included “Best Small Batch and Best Bourbon” for Pappy Van Winkle ($65) from the Sazerac Company;
“Best Single Barrel Bourbon” went to Blanton’s ($75) of Age International;
“Best Straight Bourbon” went to Jim Beam ($24).
The Whisky/Whiskies categories included American Craft, Canadian, Rye, Irish, Blended Scotch Up to 15 Year Old, Blended Scotch 16 Year and Older, Single Malt up to 12 Years Old, and Single Malt Scotch 13-19 Year Old.
Firestone and Robertson ($40) for “Best American Craft Whiskey” out of Ft. Worth Texas;
“Best Canadian Whisky” to Lot No. 40 ($40) from Corby Distilleries Ltd. imported by Pernod Ricard;
“Best Rye” went to Masterson’s 10 Year Old Rye ($79) of Canada;
“Best Irish Whiskey” went to Bushmill’s 21 Year Old ($125) imported by Diageo North America of Norwalk, CT;
“Best Other Whiskey” went to English Whisky Company ($75) of Scotland imported by Purple Valley Imports of Alberta, Canada;
“Best Blended Scotch Up to 15 Year Old” went to Label 5 ($25) from the Crosby Lake Spirits Company of Scotland imported by the Prestige Wine Group of St.Paul, MN;
“Best Blended Scotch 16 Year and Older” went to Johnnie Walker Blue ($220) imported by Diageo North America;
“Best Single Malt Scotch Up to 12 Years Old” went to the Islay Malt Ardbeg ($109) imported by Moet Hennessy-USA;
“Best Single Malt Scotch 13-19 Year Old” went to Lagavulin ($90) also an Islay malt imported by Diageo North America.
“Best Spanish Brandy” went to Gran Duque d’Alba XO Solera Gran Reserva Especial ($100) imported by Palm Bay International of Pt. Washington, NY.
Responding to the rising popularity of the Açai fruit, the “Best Fruit Liqueur” went to Cedilla ($24) the macerated Açai berry liqueur from Brazil made by Leblon Cachaca and imported by MHW of Manhasset, NY;
“Best Absinthe” went to Pernod ($70) of France imported by Pernod Ricard; and finally “Best Pre-Mixed Cocktail” went to true glamour’s Lemon Drop Martini ($16) from Sonoma Coast Spirits of California.