Welcome to the New York International Spirits Competition FAQ Page. Please feel free to contact us if you do not find your answers here.

Why a trade-only judging panel?

Trade buyers who have daily interactions with consumers are the best people to rank products. They are constantly checking in with the market to ensure that their buying decisions line up with what the consumer wants and what will sell, based upon quality and price. Their livelihoods depend on it--a wrong buying decision means that products gather dust on shelves and have negative impacts on their bottom lines.

The Press and other non-buyers/professional tasters do not have access to this valuable information.  Our experienced trade buyers will sample a product and either one of three things may happen:  The first is, “I personally like it…but it won’t sell”.  The second is “I personally don’t like it…but it will sell”.  The third is “I like it and it will sell”. This feedback is invaluable to other buyers, who have come to rely on our awards to make their own buying decisions.

Why are you using price categories and actual retail price?

All the wines are judged within their appropriate price range because our judges are deciding whether or not each product will sell in their local market. Price is a very big factor in determining value for the consumer, and it is information that they would consider when making a real buying decision. We wanted our judging to be as close to the real-world buying process as possible, so we provide our judges with the actual retail price of each product in order to gain the most accurate insights from them.

Can I submit before registration officially opens?

We understand that brands sometimes need to submit and or ship before the official opening for submissions. Feel free to contact us to make special arrangements.

Where should I ship my products once I've filled out the submission form?

Please visit our How To Enter page for details on where to ship your products. Please DO NOT ship any wines to our New York address.

Why did you choose Western Carriers to receive and store the submissions?

Western Carriers is one of the largest and most respected liquor warehouses in the New York area. Numerous liquor distributors and importers utilize and trust Western Carriers.

We simply do not want anything to happen to your products, so we chose the best. You can find out more about them on their website at www.WesternCarriers.com.

What if my distributor and or importer stores my products at Western Carriers?

You may transfer your submissions from your distributor/importer inventory to our account with no additional handling or shipping charges. Please have them contact their primary contact at Western Carriers and have the bottles transferred internally to account #707 New York International Spirits Competition.

What if my product is stuck in customs and doesn't reach you before the deadline?

This is a common occurrence, so we highly recommend sending in your submissions as early as possible to avoid any hangups in customs. However, there are always a few submissions that stuck in customs and do not arrive in time to be tasted during the main event. In these cases, we convene a backup panel of judges to taste the late arrivals a few days after the competition. All spirits submitted and paid for will be judged.

How do you award medals?

Our trade-only judges award medals based upon the following criteria:

Bronze Medal- Our judges will sell it, distribute it and or import it

Silver Medal- Our judges really like it and will sell it, distribute it and or import it.

Gold Medal- Our judges love it and will sell it, distribute it and or import it.

Double Gold- All of the judges on the panel award it a Gold Medal

For more details, check out our Judging Process

Do you award any other medals?

After we review all the medal winners we will poll the judges for their opinion on the possibility of awarding the following awards.  If no one qualifies, the medal will not be awarded.

“Winery of the Year”

“Distributor of the Year”

“Importer of the Year”

Does every category get a minimum Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medal Winner?

No. If no spirit qualifies for a medal, then no medal is awarded in that category.

There are a lot of competitions out there, why should we choose yours?

We believe our spirits competition offers several things to a winning brand:

1.   This is a trade-only judging panel made up of professionals who are well respected by their peers in the industry.

2.  You are placing your product in front of a trade buyer who makes buying decisions!

3.  We are holding it in the Media Capital of the World…New York.  The media will be invited to report on the competition and attend the Press/Trade Event showcasing the winners.  Winning brands are invited to attend and showcase their winning products at no additional charge.

4.  We work with our media sponsors to distribute the results to the trade and to consumers.   All the winners will be listed here on our website.

5.  The NYISC gives distilleries who are not currently imported or distributed in the United States or in New York the opportunity to be discovered.

6.  We do not charge winning distilleries the use of our medals in their marketing materials.

7.  You are only charged once when you submit your spirits.  There are no additional charges or hidden fees.

How are the results released?

Because we believe in full transparency, the judges immediately receive the results of the spirits they judge.  We then request that the judges refrain from sharing who the winners are with people outside of the judging group until the formal announcements are made.

We will contact the winning distilleries shortly after the competition ends to allow them the opportunity to participate in the Press/Trade Event to be held at a later date. There is no additional charge to participate in the Winners Circle at the trade event!

Competition results will also be posted on this website once they are officially announced.

May I come to the Press/Trade event to sample the winners?

If you are a qualified trade buyer and or member of the media you can email us at info@nyispiritscompetition.com and we will update you with information about the tasting event.

How do you pick your judges, and are they compensated?

The vast majority of our judges come from the New York Metropolitan Area and are traveling within a 20 mile radius.  There is an incredibly high concentration of talented beverage professionals in the area, and we choose the best and most dynamic among them to be our judges.  These buyers are sommeliers, retail store buyers, mixologists, beverage directors in restaurants and hotels, distributors and importers.  We try to make our judging panels as diverse as possible, because we believe each expert brings a different perspective to the judging process on what the consumer wants.

Starting in 2013, we began compensating our judges with a daily stipend of $250 per day. We believe at this daily rate each judge is fairly compensated, but will maintain their independence and feel no financial pressure from the organizers.

I like to drink. Can I be a judge?

We look for many qualities in our judges. Please feel free to reach out to us at info@nyispiritscompetition.com and we'd be happy to discuss it with you.

Are there any additional fees?

We take great pride in saying NO!  There are no charges for the use of winning medal images.  There are no charges to participate in our Press/Trade Event announcing the winners. There are no surprises here.

There are brands who have expressed strong interest in the use of medal image stickers.  We are in discussion with a sticker company to allow the winners to order the medal images directly from them at no compensation to the NYISC.

My product is not available yet in the United States. Can I submit?

Yes! Our only requirement is that the spirit is commercially produced somewhere in the world.  Approximately 18% of the spirits submitted are not available in the United States. If you plan to enter the US Market and especially the New York market, this is a great opportunity to present your spirit to actual New York area buyers.  As the old saying goes: “If you can make it in New York….You can make it anywhere."

Do you announce all of the brands who participated or only the winners?

We do not list all of the brands who participated.  We will announce how many spirits were submitted, from how many countries, in how many categories and how many won medals.  This is still a subjective process and we only announce the winning spirits.

Do the owners of the NYISC receive any financial compensation outside of submission fees from any liquor companies?

The owners of the NYISC have no ownership of any alcohol companies, distributors, importers, liquor stores, bars or restaurants.

The owners of the NYISC receive no financial compensation from any liquor company outside of the submission fees for their brands.  We do not accept any advertising dollars on any of our competition websites or affiliate web properties.

We do at times accept free product from our medal winners for our private and consumer tastings we organize through our sister company All Spirits Events.  It is another way to help promote our medal winners and competition.

Can you help me find a customs broker?

Yes. Please contact our recommended customs broker Park Street by emailing competitions@parkstreet.com.

Can I pay my entry fee by wire transfer?

We do accept wire transfer and there is a $15 banking fee attached to it. Please email us at: info@nyispiritscompetition.com for our banking information.

Do you have a magazine, and can I buy an ad?

Adam Levy, the founder of the International Beverage Competition Series, also curates The Alcohol Professor,  a respected beer, wine and spirits website for both the elite consumer and beverage industry professionals. Unlike other questionable competitions that are directly tied to magazines, we accept NO ADVERTISING from any liquor company. It is important to us to maintain our independence and objectivity when awarding medals at the competition.

Do you work with large spirits organizations?

We encourage spirits organizations and trade offices to contact us directly for any additional support or assistance they need to submit large numbers of products. We offer special rates for organizations and consortiums who participate in our programs. Please visit our Contact Page to find out how to reach out to us.

What happens if the competition is cancelled?

In the event that the judging is not held, a portion of the fees will be refunded, based on the amount paid minus a pro rata share of the expenses for establishing and maintaining entry files.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Competition shall not be liable for failure to perform caused by an act of God, fire, flood, wind, rain, storm, electrical failure, strike, labor dispute, riot, insurrection, war or other causes beyond its control.