144 – Judging the San Francisco World Spirits Competition with Anthony Dias Blue


What does a bourbon that receives double gold actually mean? Are the whiskies judged blind? We learn all this and more as the Executive Director of the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Anthony Dias Blue, joins the show to give us an inside glimpse to the bourbons that can be entered and dispels some myths if it’s a “pay to play” atmosphere.

Show Notes:

  • What sets your competition apart from the rest?
  • How many different categories do you have at the event?
  • Are all tastings done blind?
  • Are they shelf bottles (from a standard distributor) or do distillers get to choose specific bottles they send in?
  • Why not Jack Daniels and other major selling brands?
  • How medals are awarded, and what those medals actually mean when we see them on a bottle?
  • How many judges are there and how many need to rate a bourbon as Gold for it to receive a Gold Medal?
  • Most of the time when I see a sticker on a bottle saying that this bourbon was rated as Gold or Double Gold, it doesn’t have a date on the sticker. If a bourbon is awarded a medal does it have that medal forever? Is it or can it be evaluated ever again? Does the producer have to do anything to maintain that medal?
  • Is the “same” product is entered over multiple years and judged independently each year?
  • How much weight should we consumers put on these awards when we see them on a brand we’ve never heard of or tried?
  • Why have a competition at all?
  • Is it “pay to play” and your entrance fee will automatically score you a medal?
  • Do you see cases of “bait and switch”? Products/Sellers submit “honey” barrels to the competition to get a higher award, and then using that award to promote an inferior product.

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