ADI is excited to announce we are transitioning the name and branding of our annual competition from the ADI Judging of Craft Spirits to the ADI International Spirits Competition. The new name will add clarity to our event, and to the communication of our awards in the press and to the public. The new name also reflects the fact that ADI’s mission is to promote the art of distilling for all distilleries, and there are members from over 22 countries. For the last several years about a quarter of or entries have been coming from distilleries outside the US. And lastly, while we have removed the term “craft spirits” from the name, we are continuing our commitment to help promote the distillers and blenders who are making the finest quality artisan spirits. Over the past 14 years ADI had built a competition which has led the industry. We were first to offer all entries written feedback from our judges, free entry into our packaging awards, and provided physical awards and digital assets to all winners for free. Over that same period, we have led the industry by using spirit professionals as our stewards who are tasked with tasting and flighting every entry before they go out to the judges. We also organizing our competition classes and categories based the real-world production processes not just on marketing speak. ADI was first to add categories such as Contemporary Gin, American Single Malt Whiskey, Residual Base Character Vodka, and a whole recategorization of rum based on production, not on color.
We have also spent years carefully curating our pool of judges and stewards, drawing from all parts of the spirits industry, including distillers, retailers, distributors, bartenders, press, brand ambassadors and consultants. The result has been a competition with some of the highest standards in the industry where awards are earned based on true quality and craftsmanship not merely on participation. We also believe that the diversity of experience our judges bring to the competition means that they are not biased
towards the flavor profiles of market leaders that other competitions might describe as “benchmarks.” And while other competitions have created “craft” categories as hedge against the bias of their own judges, our judges really know what makes a given spirit excellent in its class and category. This has been born out on multiple occasions when our judges have awarded our best of class trophy to a spirit from a much smaller distillery when put head to head with a spirit from a larger or better capitalized distillery in our blind grand panel. Confirming that our judges cannot taste things like total sales,
marketing budgets, or national distribution but are hyper-focused on the actual quality of the spirit in the glass.
Given our history and rigorous commitment to excellence, ADI’s International Spirits Competition believes now is the time to remove the limits that barred entries from the largest members of the spirits community. On a level playing field where all that maters is the spirit in the glass, we are confident that true artisanship will seize the day. For years we have claimed that winners of our top awards represent some of the best made spirits in the world. And now that we have lifted this barrier to entry, our winners can be confident in this claim as well. The creativity, passion and dedication of distillers, blenders, and brands has created one of the most dynamic industries around the world. This commitment to excellence drives us to deliver a competition that remains on the forefront of the industry, offers the greatest value to our winners, and widens the
impact of our awards. We grateful to the more than one thousand distilleries that have sent us their spirits over the past 14 years, and we look forward to serving even more in the years to come.