The nation's largest and most influential spirits competition will return to Hotel Nikko in downtown San Francisco April 21st through 23rd for the 17th annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition. What started with 292 entries in the year 2000 is this year expected to surpass 2,000 submissions from around the world. Of those, only the very best of the best will be awarded the coveted Bronze, Silver, Gold or Double-Gold Medal from the competition's expert judging panel. Entries will be accepted through Friday, March 31 at www.sfspiritscomp.com.
Overseeing the competition as Founder and Executive Director will be Anthony Dias Blue, one of the nation's most influential wine and spirits personalities. The James Beard Foundation award-winner is the editor-in-chief of The Tasting Panel, The SOMM Journal and The Clever Root magazines, and also serves as executive director of the San Francisco International Wine Competition. Returning to the competition as director of judging will be Master Mixologist
Tony Abou-Ganim, one of the world's leading bar professionals and author of "The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails."
All spirits are evaluated blind under strictly monitored conditions by an all-star judging panel of over 40 of the country's top spirits experts. To ensure the true expression of each entry, the NEAT glass is the official glass of the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Medals are awarded on a merit basis, and competition standouts will receive Best of Class, Best in Show, Director's Award, Distillery of the Year, and Importer of the Year awards.
“No other competition combines the integrity, depth of judging expertise, and quantity and variety of spirits as the San Francisco World Spirits Competition,” says Anthony Dias Blue. “Over the course of the three-day competition we identify the very best spirits in the world across every major category. History has shown that winning a San Francisco World Spirits Competition medal can instantly put a brand on the map.”
This year's panel includes mixologists such as "King Cocktail" Dale DeGroff, Crafthouse Cocktails founder
Charles Joly and Clyde Common's
Jeffrey Morgenthaler; bar directors
Jackson Cannon of Boston's Eastern Standard and The Hawthorne and
Eric Adkins of the Slanted Door Group; and spirits writers
Richard Carlton Hacker of Robb Report and
Doug Frost, columnist for the James Beard Award winning food section of the Kansas City Star and one of the few people in the world to hold the title of both Master of Wine and Master Sommelier.
Last year's record-breaking 1,899 entries resulted in the largest variety of categories and regions in the competition's history. As a response to the growth trend, most notably in the Vodka, Gin and Barrel-Aged Gin categories, the 2017 competition has refined its tasting categories. Pisco has been re-classified to better reflect the diversity and differences between Chile and Peru. The competition has also introduced Flavored Moonshine as a dedicated category.