IWSC North American Whiskey & RTD Judging in Kentucky


For the first time in IWSC history, in 2024 we will be taking our global awards to Kentucky.

The IWSC North American Whiskey & RTD Judging in Kentucky will offer a unique opportunity for North American producers to put their drinks on the global stage and showcase them in front of internationally renowned industry experts – our judges, while taking advantage of the convenient local delivery. The judging will take place on 9-13 September 2024. The results will be announced on 16 September 2024.

Why Enter

The IWSC Judging in Kentucky will offer its entrants unprecedented opportunities to build industry connections, get new listings and increase their brand awareness via extensive media campaigns held in the US and internationally.

  • We promote our winners globally, via year-round social media campaigns; weekly features in our consumer magazine Club Oenologique and on IWSC website; as well as at international trade fairs and tastings.
  • IWSC winners are regularly featured in key media, from Forbes to Time Out and many others. Our Kentucky Judging results will gain its own PR spotlight, outside our London Judging results, maximizing the exposure for our North American winners.
  • We are one of the only competitions to reveal the names of the judges, connecting you to the key decision-makers. 
  • Our winners get a unique opportunity to be considered for potential listings with one of the UK’s leading on-trade distributors – Enotria&Coe and their retail branch, Spirits Kiosk.
  • The IWSC is also the only industry award body to share constructive feedback with the non-winners.
  • Producers entering the IWSC North American Whiskey & RTD Judging in Kentucky will benefit from convenient local delivery of their entries.

Discover more benefits here.


Meet Our Judges

Our judges ensure all judging is impartial, rigorous and adheres to the IWSC’s consistent standards. Confirmed judges for the IWSC North American Whiskey and RTD Judging in Kentucky are:

  • Richard Paterson OBE – known as ‘The Nose’, the IWSC Spirits Judging Committee member, Richard is one of the most respected figures in the Scotch whisky industry and has held the position of Master Blender at Whyte & Mackay for over fifty years. Richard is admired globally for his unparalleled knowledge of the art of blending.
  • Dr Emma WalkerMaster Blender for Johnnie Walker and the first female to take on this prestigious role, Emma has worked in different areas of whisky production, gaining experience and understanding of how flavour develops in fermentation, distillation, and maturation, striving to ensure quality at every stage of the process. 
  • Dawn Davies MW - member of the IWSC Spirits Judging Committee and Head Buyer of distribution company Speciality Drinks. Dawn previously spent nine years working as beer, wine and spirit buyer with upmarket UK retailer Selfridges, where she was awarded a series of drink retailing awards for her pioneering approach.
  • Guy Hodcroft – Buyer for luxury fine wine and spirits merchant Bordeaux Index. Guy has worked in multiple areas of the wine and spirit sector, moving between bars, restaurants and retailers. In addition to his encyclopaedic knowledge of the spirits industry, Guy knows all the latest trends in consumer behaviour.   
  • Kristiane Sherry - Freelance whisky and spirits writer and communicator, Kristiane previously held the position of Head of Spirits at Fine + Rare, leading online platform for buying and selling fine wines and spirits. Kristiane writes for many publications, such as Whisky Magazine, Club Oenologique and the Malt Whisky yearbook. She is also a regular judge with the IWSC.
  • Nate Gana - Founder of @NateGana on Instagram (formerly known as @SingleMaltDaily), a platform of over 127K+ followers. Nate is also the Co-Founder of Bevridge; bringing together curated tasting experiences, compelling on-demand content, and opportunities to engage with industry experts.
  • Shannon Tebay - Beverage Director for Outernet Live Venues. Shannon arrived in the UK in 2021 from New York to take up the role of Head Bartender at The Savoy’s American Bar. She is a member of the IWSC’s Spirits Judging Committee and leads the judging for our RTD Awards in London.

Mixer Awards

Sponsored by Franklin & Sons - pioneers of top quality drinks and mixers since 1886, we created our Mixer Awards to crown the world's best spirits and mixer pairings.

If you are submitting a whiskey to our Kentucky judging, you can also enter your bottles into our Mixer Awards. The judges will be selecting the best whiskey highball and whiskey & ginger ale.


IWSC Bourbon Producer Trophy

NEW to 2024, the IWSC has introduced a dedicated Bourbon Producer Trophy that will be awarded to an outstanding producer from our Kentucky judging.

All entrants to the IWSC awards have an opportunity to qualify for our most prestigious accolades, our Producer Trophies. 

Following completion of our Kentucky Judging, the IWSC review the results and will announce the shortlist of the best-performing bourbon producers.

Members of our Judging Committee will review the shortlist to decide the overall winner of the 2024 Bourbon Producer Trophy. 

The winner will be announced at the IWSC’s Awards Celebration on 12 November 2024 at the Roundhouse, London.


Key Information

Key dates

Entry deadline: 18 July 2024

IWSC North American Whiskey & RTD Judging in Kentucky: 9-13 September 2024

Results announcement: 16 September 2024

Entry fee

1 to 4 entries5 to 10 entries11 to 20 entries 21+ entries
$395 per entry$353 per entry$310 per entry$295 per entry

Number of samples

Whiskey: Please send 2 x bottles of each entry.

RTD: Please send 4 x cans (or 1ltr in total) of each entry.

(Please note, if your spirit/RTD is awarded a gold medal, we may request additional samples to be sent to the UK for our Trophy judging and the IWSC Awards Celebration).

Delivery address:
Kentucky Eagle
Attn: Jim Gann and IWSC
2440 Innovation Drive
Lexington, KY 40511

Delivery timeframe: 1 - 25 August 2024

For delivery instructions from Canada, please click here.

If you have any further questions, please check our Kentucky FAQ or contact us.