San Francisco World Spirits Competition Announces New “Cocktail of the Year” Component

Legendary Industry Leaders to Blind Judge Mezcal-based Cocktails Submitted by Peers
San Francisco World Spirits Competition Announces New “Cocktail of the Year” ComponentFrancisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) Founder and Executive Director, the James Beard Award-winning industry leader Anthony Dias Blue, announces an exciting new addition to this year’s programming – Cocktail of the Year, which will take place on April 12, ahead of the annual spirit competition occurring Friday, April 13 through Sunday, April 15. Additional information on the competition can be found here.
This new component of SFWSC, the most respected and influential international spirits competition of its kind, features an all-star panel of judges, led by SFWSC’s Director of Judging and leading bar professional, Tony Abou-Ganim, and including the likes of best-selling author and whiskey expert Fred Minnick and Ziggy Eschliman, award-winning radio and television personality and educator, who will blind taste cocktail recipes submitted by some of the industry’s most respected leaders including author and beverage consultant Kimberly Haasarud and James Beard-honored cocktail historian, David Wondrich.
San Francisco World Spirits Competition Announces New “Cocktail of the Year” ComponentThis year, entrants will submit recipes utilizing Mezcal Banhez, a recipient of 2017 SFWSC Double Gold and Best in Class medals, reflecting the current proliferation of mezcal-based cocktails featured on menus around the world.
Industry members who wish to participate are asked to submit cocktail recipes featuring Mezcal Banhez in writing by April 1. Entries will be evaluated and the top five will advance to the competition. Those with entries selected will be notified by April 6 and sent a bottle of Mezcal Banhez for workshopping. To ensure consistency, competitors will mix four versions of their entry on judging day.
The winning creator of the Cocktail of the Year will receive $500, a coveted SFSWC Medal, a feature in the monthly subscription service Cocktail Courier as well as a placement on menus in some of the country’s leading bars including Libertine Social in Las Vegas, and Academia in Austin, TX.
“The San Francisco World Spirits Competition is now in 18th year and we are pleased to introduce the first ever cocktail competition,” says Blue. “Our goal with awarding SFWSC medals is to inspire consumer confidence in spirit brands they may not have otherwise tried, and with the addition of the Cocktail of the Year, we can now inspire confidence among those who may be hesitant to try new cocktails. Among a broader audience, mezcal is still met with some resistance due to years of misinformation, and we believe backing by the most trusted palates in the world can help inspire progress and excitement among cocktail novices and experts alike.”
Founded by Blue in 2000, SFWSC has firmly established itself as the spirits industry’s most influential competition, with an international reputation for integrity and impartiality. The spirits judging will commence on Friday, April 13 where more than 40 world-renowned judges will taste several thousand entries from around the world in over 100 categories, bestowing coveted SFWSC Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Double Gold medals on the best of them. This year, categories for entry have been expanded to reflect the latest trends in distillation, including Single Grain Whisk[e]y, Genever, Barrel-Aged Gin and Bitters.
Blue also presides over New York World Wine and Spirits Competition, occurring August 29-30. Together with Abou-Ganim, Blue has curated a panel of judges of the industry’s top personalities, including “King Cocktail” Dale DeGroff and Doug Frost, one of only four candidates to have achieved both Master of Wine and Master Sommelier status, as well as Master of Spirits bestowed by Wine Spectator. A complete list of judges can be found here.
About the San Francisco World Spirits Competition:
  • The San Francisco World Spirits Competition was founded in 2000.
  • The SFWSC is the world’s most respected and influential international spirits competition, and the largest event of its kind in the U.S.
  • Over 2,500 entries in 2017 were judged in more than 80 spirits categories.
  • Products are evaluated in a blind, consensual procedure ensuring the SFWSC maintains its reputation for the highest level of integrity.
  • The first ever “Cocktail of the Year” competition will take place on Thursday, April 12 and showcase cocktails incorporating this year’s featured spirit, Mezcal Banhez.
  • The 2018 Spirits Competition takes place over three days, April 13-15.
  • Deadline for entries extended to Wednesday, April 4, 2018.
  • Winning participants receive the awards of Double Gold, Gold, Silver, or Bronze, marking their product as one of the highest quality in the world.
  • In addition to bestowing medallions, the Competition provides a variety of post-event support programs to help winners turn awards into effective sales tools. The SFWSC sponsors nationwide tasting events throughout the year where trade professionals can sample the Competition’s top winners; Competition winners enjoy discounts on point-of-sale and other printed materials through SFWSC’s strategic partners; and winners are eligible to purchase medallion bottle stickers and to reproduce medallion imagery in their print and online promotions.
For more information, including a roster and bios of the Competition’s 2018 judges, please visit the SFWSC website:
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