NEWPORT BEACH, CA—From its humble beginnings, the Spirit International Prestige (SIP) Awards has grown into a movement that is gaining traction across the spirits industry at lightning speed. As the only international spirits competition with only consumers as judges, the SIP Awards provides brands a rare opportunity to receive unbiased consumer feedback. Following the growth trend across the last decade, the 2018 competition saw a new record of 783 spirit brand entries and 122 consumer judges.
In addition to the large number of new spirit brand entries, the 2018 SIP Awards also brought about a spike in returning brands vying for the coveted Consumer Choice Award (CCA). The CCA is an exclusive medal reserved for spirit brands that manage to secure a SIP Award for two or more consecutive years.
“In 2018, we saw a 14% increase in the number of eligible entries for the Consumer Choice Award. This surge of interest in the Consumer Choice Award reflects the brands’ desires to demonstrate quality, consistency, and ongoing dedication to high standards with evidence from a third party.”
However, the 2018 SIP Awards was not only marked by a dramatic increase in engagement with the spirit industry and consumers. In commemoration of the 10th annual competition, the SIP Awards also refreshed medal designs and created a new category, the Double Gold medal, to accommodate a greater spectrum of the top winners. The Double Gold medal corresponds to an outstanding rank of spirits & mixers which consumers judged to qualify for the top percentile of their given categories and justify strong recommendations.
“In line with our commitment to honest and unbiased feedback from consumers, we listen to our participants’ feedback to improve the value of our competition every year. For our 10th anniversary, we updated the design of our medals to bolster the spirit brands’ marketing efforts and introduced an additional award category to further nuance the different levels of quality distinction.”
The SIP Awards takes a number of measures to ensure the objectivity of the consumer evaluation. First, all judges are screened to make sure they are not affiliated with spirit brands or the spirit industry. Additionally, the SIP Awards accounts for demographic diversity when selecting judges, as shown in our online infographic. Moreover, all spirits are served chilled and undiluted for blind tasting in a scientifically designed Neat Glass to enhance the tasting experience. Lastly, the SIP Awards uses a proprietary algorithm to gauge the judges’ palate consistency. Scores from judges with less palate variability is weighed heavier than those who has shown more palate fluctuations.
Each spirit across the various categories were graded on aroma, taste, and finish. The 2018 Platinum Best of Class honorees include:
- El Fogonero Tequila (100% Agave Tequila Extra Anejo)
- 36 Short Original Gin (Gin)
- Sacred Spring Barrel Aged Gin (Gin Aged)
- Bols Ginger (Herbal/Botanicals Liqueur)
- Cutwater Fugu Vodka Soda Lime (Pre-Mixed Cocktail (RTD) - Max of 25% ABV)
- 1934 Bloody Mary Mix (Bloody Mary Mixer)
- The Naked Turtle White Rum (White Rum)
- Santa Teresa 1796 Solera Rum (Extra-Aged Rum)
- Guillotine Vodka Originale (Vodka)
- Evan Williams Bottled-In-Bond (Straight Bourbon Whiskey)
- Bernheim Original Small Batch Kentucky Straight (Small Batch Bourbon)
- Bower HIll, Single Barrel Bourbon (Single Barrel American Whiskey)
- Oregon Rye Malt Whiskey (American Straight Rye Whiskey)
- Golden State Corn Whiskey (Other American Whiskey)
- Kamiki Intense (International Whisky, non-Ireland/non-Scotland)
- Dewar's 12 Year Old - The Ancestor (Blended Scotch)
- The Singleton of Glendullan 12 Year Old (Distillers' Single Malt Scotch)
- Ole Smoky Blue Flame Moonshine (Unaged Whiskey/Moonshine)
- William Wolf Coffee (Flavored/Infused Whiskey/Moonshine)
- Five Farms (Individual Bottle Design)
- Revel Avila Series (Series Bottle Design)
For a complete list of the categories, winners, and photos from the event, visit: https://sipawards.com
About the SIP Awards
The SIP Awards provides a unique judging competition for spirit brands to gain exposure, feedback, and recognition from unbiased consumers. As the only blind tasting competition of its kind, the SIP Awards offers a fair platform for top brands to showcase their products to their most discerning audience. To learn more about the SIP Awards beverage competition, venue partnerships, or for a complete list of this year’s winners, visit https://sipawards.com.