James Beard Award-winning Anthony Dias Blue, founder and executive director of the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) and San Francisco International Wine Competition (SFIWC), internationally respected as the most influential events of their kind, is proud to announce the formation of The Tasting Alliance. Joining SFWSC and SFIWC is the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition (NYWSC), of which Blue and team recently acquired full ownership.
As SFWSC and SFIWC’s counterpart, NYWSC aims to encourage brands of all sizes to enter, with particular emphasis on craft distillers and start-ups, as the resulting medals can provide helpful encouragement for new products. With the Tasting Alliance’s acquisition of NYWSC comes the expansion of categories for entry, including the addition of Native American and hybrid wines.
The value of medals from Tasting Alliance competitions cannot be overstated – winners historically see immediate and significant increase in sales and public perception.
“San Francisco World Spirits Competition is the end-all-be-all for the industry – our medals are a major claim to fame because they were awarded by the world’s best connoisseurs who cannot be paid off,” says Jenna Fagnan, President of Tequila Avión, winner of multiple SFWSC medals in 2011 + 2012.
Marsha Milam, owner of craft brand Ben Milam Whiskey, echoes this sentiment: “To say winning the Double Gold for our Ben Milam Single Barrel Bourbon at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition rocked our world is an understatement. The award, for a small new distillery such as ours, changed everything: increased press coverage, increased awareness, increased distribution and increased sales. Plus, our phone rang off the hook from both whiskey enthusiasts and retail outlets. If you have a great product, submit. It was the single best thing we did.”
NYWSC is a two-day competition featuring blind spirits and wine tastings from a panel predominantly comprised of New York-based judges, offering a unique east coast perspective but maintaining the same level of integrity as SFWSC and SFWIC through scrupulous judging techniques. The spirits judging panel includes such industry leaders as Amanda Victoria, Communications Director of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and Josimar Souza, Spirit Sommelier at the Brandy Library. Wine judges include top wine expert Jim Trezise, President of Wine America and acclaimed journalists Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Breacher of Grape Collective.
“Our purpose is to standardize the meticulous and rigorous procedures, currently used in both the SFWSC and the SFIWC, and propagate them across other competitions,” says Blue.
NYWSC will take place Wednesday, August 22 and Thursday, August 23 at the New York Medical Library on 5th Avenue. All Best in Show wine and Best of Class wine winners at the NYWSC will receive 25% off their entire portfolio’s entry fee into the next SFIWC.
This year’s SFIWC will occur on Saturday, November 17 – Monday, November 19 and entries will open in early September. The 2018 SFWSC was held this past April 13-15. See the full results.