International Spirits Challenge 2014

Rewarding quality, celebrating excellence

Marks and Spencer's was delighted to be involved with the International Spirits Challenge this year. To have our products endorsed by this recognised competition reaffirms the hard work we have put in, to expand and diversify our range. By participating in these awards we have increased awareness of the quality of our spirits range both within the trade and also to consumers.
Emma Dawson, Wine & Spirits Buyer, Marks & Spencer Group plc

We are delighted to receive recognition from such a respected and independent industry body as the International Spirits Challenge. The quality of the panel means that this award is of great significance to us, and we are honoured to have received it for a third consecutive year, reflecting our commitment to our range, our products, our suppliers and to our customers...
Anne Jones Wines, Beers and Spirits Buying Team Waitrose Ltd

Quality is our No. 1 priority and we are delighted with the Sierra results from the ISC. Not only does this endorse our own views but it also provides an independent reference point for our customers and consumers which we can use beneficially in our Brand communications strategy...
Bill Oddy Managing Director of Sierra Tequila UK Distributor, The Drinks Company Ltd

The Whisky Exchange is delighted to have won the ISC's Independent Spirits Retailer of the Year– although we have been honoured with several awards in recent years we are particularly proud of this one as we were nominated and voted for independently by the industry rather than entering ourselves. To win this coveted title twice in three years is very special...
Tim Forbes The Whisky Exchange

Winning an ISC award for our whisky has great value because it's the only authentic "Spirits" competition. The judges are real specialists...
Kazuyuki Takayama, European Brand Manager, Suntory

KWV has participated in the International Spirits Challenge for many years, as our company believes that it offers an objective, credible and highly competitive platform by which KWV benchmarks its products, and is recognised for its quality...
Hymli Krige, Communications Director, KWV South Africa Ltd

We were very honoured to pick up two Trophies this year and received numerous new business references as a direct result, as well as congratulations from clients...
Kevin Shaw, Managing Director, Stranger & Stranger

I am proud to have worked with the International Spirits Challenge for many years, particularly when I am judging alongside the most dedicated "Master Blenders" of the World. Therefore I know that every spirit sample evaluated receives the highest scrutiny possible which not only reflects the success of the competition but more importantly benefits the consumer...
Richard Paterson, Master Blender, Whyte & Mackay Ltd

KWV's number one priority is quality and measuring ourselves against the best products and producers in the world. The ISC being one of the oldest competitions and most certainly the most independent competition there is, showcases a lot of products over the whole spirits portfolio. As a company we were proud to be honoured with the Best Brandy trophy in 2013 and this shows the dedication of our team to be the best when looking at our track record in previous years. The ISC will always be the competition to track the best quality brands...
Lourens Stander, Manager: Blending and Distillation, KWV South Africa

Entry Deadlines

JAN 17 Gin & Genever, Liqueurs

FEB 14 Vodka, White Spirits, Tequila & Mezcal, Anise Spirits

MAR 14 Rum, Cachaça, Brandy & Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados, Pisco, Grappa

APR 11 Scotch Whisky, World Whiskies

MAY9 Design & Packaging, Marketing


Shipping Information

Shipping can be arranged either through a UK distributor or you can make arrangements independently.

How many bottles should I send?

Please send in TWO bottles per brand entered for the Tasting Competition.

ONE bottle per brand is required for the Design & Packaging and Marketing Awards. If entering a product range, please send ONE bottle for every product in the range.

Gold medallists and Trophy winners may be asked to supply further samples for the ISC Awards Dinner in July.

Why MUST I buy UK Duty Stamps?

The UK Duty Stamps Scheme is UK law and applies to spirits or fortified wines with a strength of 30% alcohol by volume (ABV) or more, of 35 centilitres capacity or above, for consumption in the UK.

Each bottle that you send must have a duty stamp indicating that excise duty has either been paid, or is due to be paid, before it is released onto the UK market. It is your responsibility to pay for duty stamps.

This applies equally to bottles being used as tasting samples in the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) that meet the above criteria.

The ISC is delighted to offer a Duty Stamp service to make the process easier for you. When you enter the competition, simply opt to pay £20 extra per bottle and we will organise for Duty Stamps to be applied at our warehouse. This cost will include the UK duty, taxes and administration fees. You will be responsible for the shipping costs.

Please remember that you need to send two bottles per tasting entry.

It is an offence in UK law to avoid the payment of these taxes on samples.

If you wish to speak to us about any of the above, please call Helen Fallowell, International Spirits Challenge on +44 (0) 1293 590 050.

If bottles for the ISC 2014 arrive which do not have UK duty stamps we will invoice you for the cost of providing the duty stamps. The invoice must be paid before the competition takes place or your entry may be withdrawn. In this instance, no refund will be made.

The Commissioners of HMR&C require evidence of payment of duties and VAT as enshrined in The Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979 and enforced by The Customs & Excise Management Act 1979. Procedures to achieve this are stipulated in the Customs Tariff and Public Notices covering alcoholic products. It is an offence to avoid the payment of these taxes on samples. Further guidance may be obtained from the HMR&C National Advice Service - telephone 08450 109000.

Where do I send my samples?


1) All bottles MUST be accompanied by a pro forma invoice with a nominal value of £1 per bottle and the statement "for tasting purposes only; not for resale". This is for the purpose of paying UK VAT. Please ensure all deliveries are labelled with the name of the submitter and 'International Spirits Challenge 2014' .

2) Please quote and enclose your invoice/receipt number when sending any sample bottles. You can find this number at the top right hand corner of your invoice.

3) All bottles delivered to the ISC must be accompanied by a label translating the brand name into English where appropriate.

4) Please send to:

London City Bond, Vinotheque, Derby Turn, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 1RY, United Kingdom, Telephone - 0843 659 3617, Fax - 01283 512578, Email -

Please adhere to the deadlines stated in 'Important Dates' and on your entry form. Late entries may not be accepted.