Following the second and final day of judging for our alternative drinks awards, including Vermouth, RTDs and low and no drinks, we managed to catch a few minutes with Shannon Tebay and David T Smith to hear about the judging, any noticable trends or entrants that stood out in particular.
Shannon Tebay was overseeing the judging of our mixer awards as well as the judging of vermouth and RTD’s:
“We had another great day of judging and I have to lay all credit to our team of judges. As I mentioned yesterday there is such a burgeoning range of categories that people really need to come in with an open mind and really use all of the tasting time to define what these categories are. There were some particularly long tasting lists today and everyone had great endurance and kept very professional throughout.
“And once again, just like yesterday, some really impressive products coming out the RTD and premium cocktail market. Really exciting to see.”
David T Smith oversaw the low and no judging on Thursday:
“So what was very nice today in particular was to see a full cross section of no and low alcohol drinks, from beer to wine through to the spirits and actually see how good some of the kind of the alternatives to alcoholic beverages are. And for those created as a substitute, actually how difficult it would be to tell the difference between some of them.
There has been real progress made in this category over the past couple of years, clearly producers are putting some serious time, effort and innovation into increasing the quality.
In terms of what trends are coming through we are seeing different flavours and more CBD products that previous years. That can often be something that's difficult to balance but when it's done well – for instance we had a great basil flavoured entrant - I think it works well.”
The IWSC’s Alternative Drinks Awards will be announced on Thursday 14 July.