Welcome to the International Spirits Challenge 2020

The International Spirits Challenge is the most authoritative, respected and influential spirits competition in the world.

Now in its 25th year, the ISC is the premier event in promoting outstanding quality spirits from across the globe. The competition is founded on a rigorous and independent judging process, which serves to encourage the high calibre of spirits, designs and campaigns entered into the competition each year. Receiving more than 1,700 entries from nearly 70 countries worldwide makes the ISC a truly global competition. It is supported by many of the world's leading spirits producers as the international standard for quality and excellence.

Winning an ISC award is indeed an impressive achievement for any spirit that passes the scrupulous blind assessment from our experienced panel of specialist judges.

ENTRY DEADLINES
JAN 08 Baijiu, Soju, Shochu, Liqueurs & Specialities, Tequila, Mezcal, Other Agave Spirits
FEB 05 Vodka, Gin & Genever, Rum & Cane Spirits, Cachaça, Aquavit, Other World Spirits
MAR 04 Scotch Whisky, World Whisky, American Whiskey, Irish Whiskey, Japanese Whisky
APR 01 Brandy, Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados, Pisco, Grappa, Fruit Distillates
APR 15 Design & Packaging, Pre-Mixed Drinks, Spirits Tourism

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THE INTERNATIONAL SPIRITS CHALLENGE IS HOME TO

SOME OF THE FINEST PALATES IN THE WORLD

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The ISC Tasting Awards winners are established through a rigorous judging process - a highly controlled operation held over twelve days of intense blind tastings by panels of more than 50 respected and experienced industry professionals.

Samples are delivered to the judging area in flights of numbered tasting glasses to ensure the accuracy of the blind tasting. Each judge will assess products according to their age, region and variety which is determined by the entrant and verified by the chairman. Each product is blind tasted and awarded a score for its aroma, appearance, taste and finish. Scores are collated and recorded by the category chairman before Trophy, Double Gold, Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals are awarded.

The ISC takes great care in ensuring that all products are blind tasted equally and fairly in the correct conditions set by the ISC rules. The chairman will monitor each product ensuring that all samples are consistent and authentic. This precise judging process is the basis of the reputation the ISC has established for rewarding quality and celebrating excellence.

The categories are:

  • American Whiskey
  • Aquavit
  • Armagnac
  • Asian Spirits
  • Brandy
  • Calvados
  • Cognac
  • Fruit Distillates
  • Gin & Genever
  • Grappa
  • Irish Whiskey
  • Japanese Whisky
  • Liqueurs & Specialities
  • Mezcal
  • Other Agave Spirits
  • Other World Spirits
  • Pisco
  • Pre-Mixed Drinks
  • Rum & Cane Spirits
  • Scotch Whisky
  • Tequila
  • Vodka
  • World Whisky

Design & Packaging Awards

The ISC Design & Packaging Awards recognise the very best design within the spirits sector and are supported by some of the world's leading design agencies.

Design is a vital element for the success of any spirit brand and has many functions such as brand development and awareness, functionality and the communication of the brand to consumers.

Our esteemed panel of judges assesses each product against its design brief. Scores are based on initial impact, originality, creativity, innovation and relevance to target market.

The categories are:

  • New Brand Launch
  • New SKU or Range Extension (a new product or range from an established brand)
  • Redesign / Re-Launch of an Established Brand or Range
  • Design for a Specialist Retail Channel
  • Special / Limited Edition Packaging

Spirits Tourism Awards

NEW for 2020, the ISC Tourism Awards recognises innovation and excellence among global distilleries.

Turning a distillery into an attractive long-term tourist attraction requires innovation, strategy and investment. The ISC is in search for the best establishments that successfully deliver an interesting, education and commercially profitable tourism experience to consumers. Written submissions will be examined by our expert panel of judges. They will assess each entry against its criteria, before awarding a winner in each category.

The categories are: 

  • Distillery Visitor Centre
  • Distillery Tour
  • Distillery Educational Experience

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A HIGHLY CONTROLLED OPERATION HELD OVER TWELVE


DAYS OF INTENSE BLIND TASTINGS

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Producer of the Year Awards

Recognition Awards


Our Producer awards recognise the best performing drinks producers in the challenge.

The results are determined by a weighted points system, which scores the achievement of all brands entered into a single category.

The categories are:

  • Gin Producer of the Year
  • Liqueurs Producer of the Year
  • Vodka Producer of the Year
  • Agave Spirits Producer of the Year
  • Asian Spirits Producer of the
  • Pre-Mixed Drinks Producer of the Year
  • Scotch Whisky Producer of the Year
  • World Whisky Producer of the Year
  • Brandy / Cognac Producer of the Year
  • Rum Producer of the Year
  • Supermarket Own Branded Spirits Range of the Year
  • Other World Spirits Producer of the Year


Our recognition awards are determined by an expert panel of judges who vote for the winner in each category.

The panel comprises of journalists, authors, spirits consultants and independent experts.

The categories are:

  • Master Blender / Distiller of the Year
    Based on innovative product launches and initiatives, this award recognises the craftsmanship, skill and talent of a master blender or distiller's work from the past twelve months.
  • Rising Star Award
    This award honours a young individual who has demonstrated exceptional talent within the field of distillation and production of spirits.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
    This award celebrates the work and commitment of an individual, who has made a significant impact on the drinks industry during their career.

Supreme Champion Spirit

Distiller of the Year


For this award, each judging panel put forward their top performing spirit to be re-tasted blind by the category chairmen.

The Supreme Champion Spirit is then awarded to the highest scoring trophy winner of the competition.


This award is designed to show consistent excellence and quality across large spirit portfolios. 

The Distiller of the Year award is scored on a weighted points system based on the performance of all brands entered by a company.

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REWARDING QUALITY, CELEBRATING EXCELLENCE

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