We saw this competition as an opportunity to place Colonsay Gin in front of working industry professionals in one of the biggest beverage markets in the world. All of these judges buy liquor for a living. So we are delighted to be awarded a silver medal only three months after launching the product, especially when there were up against close to 600 spirits from around the world competing this year.

About the Competition

The NYISC is part of the International Beverage Competition group that holds international beer, wine, and spirits competitions in New York, Berlin, Melbourne, and Hong Kong, and continues to grow in stature as more producers and trade buyers embrace the philosophy of a blind tasting competition with only real trade buyers judging the competition.

What sets it apart from other international beverage competitions is its TRADE ONLY blind judging panel. The retail store buyer, sommelier, restaurant beverage director, hotelier, distributor and importer are the judges. These judges, whose livelihood rely upon their skill set, truly know what the consumer wants, as they receive on a daily basis the feedback from the consumer of what is good and what will sell.

The medals are awarded on a merit basis by a majority vote. The judges are instructed to grant no awards or medals when, in their opinion, the spirits are not ones they would import, distribute, buy or sell in their businesses based on product and price category. Judges are asked to evaluate the spirits in silence until all panel members have finished their evaluation and then open a discussion to reach a consensus. Judge votes are recorded by a NYISC staff moderator. If there is a significant difference among the judges’ votes, panellists are encouraged to reach a consensus and, if needed, seek counsel from the Head Judge.


The Global Spirits Masters is one of the most renowned blind tasting competitions in the world, and with a commitment to using only independent judges, is also one of the most impartial. Distillers and bottlers from across the globe enter all manner of spirits from Scotch and Cognac to gin and vodka, to be assessed on aroma, flavour and balance in an effort to win a coveted Silver, Gold or Master medal. Each entry is judged on its own merits by specialist judges and according to its category, ensuring the liquid is assessed as fairly as possible.

The judges were:

  • Ben Lindsay – Director, Garnish Communications
  • Ben Manchester – Bar Manager, Hubbard & Bell at Soho House
  • Brian Calleja – Bar Manager at the Bloomsbury Club
  • Tobias Gorn – Consultant, Boisdale
  • Rui Costa – Head Bartender, Pollen Street Social
  • Jason Window – Business Development Manager, Mr Fogg’s Gin
  • Sarah Duffill – Bar Manager, The Trading House
  • David T Smith – Founder, Craft Distilling Expo
  • Cheery Constable – Freelance Wine & Spirits Writer
  • Nikolai Clerc – Bar Manager, Street XO
  • Sam Mitchell – Bar Manager, Gillray’s (Marriot Hotels)
  • Nicola Thomson – Director, 1571
  • Luca Cordiglieri – President of the UKBG
  • Anna Marnez – Heads Bartender, Street XO

The results from each competition are printed in The Spirits Business magazine and also published online, while at the end of the year the most impressive expressions are named best in class at a glittering awards ceremony held in London.


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