The San Fransisco World Spirits Competition – What’s the Big Deal?
As the US craft distilling industry has grown, so have the number of distilled spirits competitions. Amidst all the hoopla, however, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) has emerged as the most prestigious spirits competition in the world. Founded in 2000 and pre-dating the craft spirits movement, the SFWSC has grown increasingly popular year-by-year. With 5,000 spirits entered in 2022 in is now the largest such competition in the world!
So why is this competition so popular and how does it continue to be regarded so highly? Well, they have maintained a sparkling record of procedural transparency and ethics throughout their years of competitions. The SFWSC was purposely built to achieve the integrity that they are known for today. This has given the SFWSC a certain weight and respect in regards to their medal awards. Every distiller knows, if you’ve won a medal from them, it’s a big deal.
The process of awarding spirits begins with four days’ worth of blind taste testing, this is followed by the medal round. In this round, each spirit is judged on an individual basis instead of comparing them to other entries. Everything is spaced out to avoid palate fatigue and divvied out among the rest of the judges. The types of medals given are Gold, Silver and Bronze with a Double Gold medal reserved for those spirits that receive a unanimous gold rating from each judge. The judges for the entire competition are an esteemed mix of respected bartenders, blog writers, industry professionals and tastemakers.
That is why the San Francisco World Spirits Competition is such a big deal to the distilling industry and especially for us here at Gate 11. It is the global Olympic-level spirits competition where the smallest distillery may go head-to-head against the largest and most sophisticated distilleries in the world on a level playing field. In May 2022, we had the honor of being awarded a Double Gold medal for both our Gate 11 Dry Gin AND Gate 11 Vodka! We hope in the coming years to earn even more medals at SFWSC and to continue to provide locally distilled, world class spirits right here in Chattanooga!