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 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.

All of the spirits in our competition 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.

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
  • Individual Medals are awarded by the Head Judge Adam Levy after the initial results are recorded to see if a specific spirit did well in a certain category or region/country.

For more details, check out our Judging Process

After we review all the medal winners we will poll the judges for their opinion on the possibility of awarding other awards. If no one qualifies, the medal will not be awarded. If a product merits it, we sometimes award:

“Distillery of the Year”

“Distributor of the Year”

“Importer of the Year”

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

We believe our beer competition offers several things to a winning brewery:

  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 spirit in front of a trade buyer who makes buying decisions!
  3. We have not raised our entry fees in 15 years…any other competition does that?
  4. The winners receive a 2″ physical medal! Not all competitions offer that
  5. We are holding it in one of the biggest beverage markets in the world…New York City. The media will be invited to report on the competition.
  6. 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.
  7. The NYISC gives distilleries who are not currently imported or distributed in the New York or the United States the opportunity to be discovered.
  8. We do not charge winning distilleries the use of our medals in their marketing materials.
  9. You are only charged once when you submit your product with the opportunity to purchase authorized medal stickers and medal licenses for images on bottles and packaging.

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 producers shortly after the competition ends to allow them the opportunity to participate in the Press/Trade Event where the winners will be announced to be held at a later date.

Top winners will be invited to participate in our awards ceremony at Brooklyn Bar Convent in June 2024

The vast majority of our judges come from the New York City 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 mixologists, retail store buyers, 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 $300 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.

We take great pride in saying that winners receive a 2″ physical medal, free use of the digitial image in their marketing materials and more. We do sell authorized medal stickers and medal licenses for use of medal image on bottle and packaging.

This is a great opportunity to present your product to actual buyers if you plan to enter the United States market, and especially the New York City market, which is one of the largest beverage buying regions in the world.

We do not list all of the producers 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 products.

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

We receive no financial compensation from any liquor company outside of the submission fees for their brands. We do not accept any advertising dollars either.

We do at times accept free product from our medal winners for the 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.

Yes. Please contact our recommended customs broker Park Street by emailing Park Street will send instructions on how to create a COLA waiver and best way to ship the samples.

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

We encourage large liquor and spirits organizations as well as trade offices to contact us directly for any additional support or assistance they need to submit their spirits. 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.

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.

Yes we have been accepting Ready To Drink products for several years. The category has seen amazing growth and we are happy to continue to accept RTD’s into our spirits competitions.

Yes we have been accepting Non Alcohol Spirits for several years. Enter the spirit in its category ie Blanco Tequila and then its ABV. The judges will then know its 0% ABV and it is a Blanco Tequila

Yes we have been accepting Alcohol and Non Alcohol Mixers in the competition since the beginning of the competition.