IWSC is going to Kentucky for its first global Whiskey & RTD judging

IWSC news

Tue 7 Nov 2023

By Mila Gorchakova

We are delighted to announce that in September 2024 our team of international experts will head to Kentucky to judge North American Whiskey & RTDs in situ.

As the world’s oldest and most respected drinks industry awards, at the IWSC we see our mission in championing a diversity of drinks categories and supporting producers from across the world, no matter how big or small. To stay true to this mission, in addition to our main judging in London, in 2023 we introduced Global Judging events. Today, we are the only drinks competition to take its judges, all of them renowned industry experts, around the world, thus bringing the international spotlight to various regions and categories. After a highly successful year of six Global Wine Judging events across four continents, we are excited to announce that in 2024 our Spirits Awards will also be going global. 

The IWSC’s first Global Spirits Judging will take place in Kentucky – focusing on the North American Whiskey and Ready-To-Drink (RTD) category. The judging will offer a unique opportunity for North American producers to showcase their drinks on the global stage while taking advantage of convenient local delivery. 

“The USA has historically been the stalwart of our Worldwide Whiskey category. In 2023 alone, more than 150 medals were awarded to American whiskey, including 25 golds and 4 gold outstandings. Furthermore, our 2023 Worldwide Whiskey Producer Trophy winner hails from Kentucky: this prestigious accolade was awarded to Bardstown Bourbon Company which once again attests to the quality of American spirits. We are very excited that our first Global Spirits Judging will take place in the very heart of North American whiskey culture, Kentucky,” said Christelle Guibert, CEO of the IWSC.

In addition to whiskey, we are welcoming entries from the Ready-To-Drink category. RTDs have been showing consistent growth year-on-year at the IWSC, with the quality constantly improving and producers experimenting with styles and ingredients. The USA is at the forefront of innovation in the RTD category, and our judges are looking forward to tasting a broad spectrum of North American RTDs in Kentucky.

Our judging team heading to Kentucky will include internationally renowned experts and members of the IWSC’s Judging Committee. Joining the judges will be Richard Paterson OBE – Master Blender at Whyte & Mackay and one of the most respected figures in the Scotch whisky industry; Dawn Davies MW – Head Buyer at Speciality Drinks, UK’s leading spirits wholesaler and importer; Shannon Tebay – Head Judge of our RTD Awards in London and Beverage Director for 26 Denmark Street, London; as well as Guy Hodcroft – Buyer for Bordeaux Index, luxury fine wine and spirits merchant. We are delighted to confirm that Nate Gana, Spirits Communicator and Founder of @NateGana on Instagram, will also be joining the judging panel. 

The IWSC North American Whiskey & RTD Judging in Kentucky will take place on 9-13 September 2024 and the results will be announced on 16 September 2024. Entries are now open; you can find out more about the judging and how to enter the awards here.