The annual Judging of Craft Spirits for 2021 took place once again this year in Tiburon, CA. Thirty six judges, and a team of stewards and staff — all fully vaccinated — participated in the event. The judging panels included distillers, retailers, distributors, brand representatives and media, and convened in 8 tasting panels starting Monday, June 7th and lasting through Wednesday, June 9th. This year ADI received over 900 spirits submissions to be evaluated. Award winners will be announced and medals distributed at the Craft Spirits Conference and Vendor Expo in Louisville, KY August 23­–26.

 “Our judging of craft spirits event is always an exciting time,” said ADI Judging Director Eric Zandona. “This year’s event was an especially meaningful, because it marked the return to in-person meetings after over a year in pandemic lock-downs.”

“We’re very thankful for Glencairn for sponsoring the judging.” said Erik Owens. “And as we started last year, this year’s best in class winners will have the option to meet one on one with representatives of Binny’s, K&L Wine Merchants and Total Wine & More about placement in their stores.”

ADI’s judging was among the first in the US to give producers written feedback on their spirits. The change from hand written notes to the use of laptops was especially helpful to the judges allowing them to better communicate thoughts on the spirits they were sampling.

 Despite the recent relaxation of pandemic rules, the judging panels were limited to domestic travelers only.

 “The event was somewhat scaled down from previous years,” said Zandona, “and we definitely missed seeing our overseas colleagues. Hopefully by the time of the conference in August international travel restrictions will be lifted.”

Follow the link for more information on the 2021 Craft Spirits Conference & Vendor Expo to be held in Louisville, KY, August 23-25.