Welcome to the International Spirits Challenge 2018

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

Now in its 23rd 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 1,500 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.

“KWV has been entering the International Spirits Challenge since 1997 as we regard it as one of the most prestigious competitions of its type. The rigorous judging process is second to none and it is a remarkable achievement to garner ISC trophies and medals as this signals not only supreme quality but also consistent dedication to the craft of creating world-class spirits. We pride ourselves on our ISC accolades as they reaffirm our commitment to producing top quality spirits for our customers and with our greatest title to date, that of Best Brandy and Cognac Producer,  the ISC has given us a world stage from which to share our products with new consumers.”

Pieter de Bod, KWV Master Distiller

JAN 26 Gin & Genever, Liqueurs & Specialties
FEB 09 Scotch Whisky, World Whisky, American Whiskey, Irish Whiskey, Japanese Whisky
MAR 09 Vodka, Aquavit, Baiju, Shochu, Soju, White Spirits, Tequila & Mezcal
APR 06 Rum, Cachaça, Brandy & Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados, Pisco, Grappa
APR 27 Design & Packaging, Pre-Mixed Drinks

Tasting Awards

The ISC Tasting Awards winners are established through a rigorous judging process - a highly controlled operation held over ten 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, 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.

Producer of the Year 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
  • Tequila 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

Supreme Champion Spirit

For this award, all the trophy winners are re-tasted blind by the category chairmen. The Supreme Champion Spirit is then awarded to the highest scoring trophy winner of the competition.

Distiller of the Year

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.

Design & Packaging Awards

Design is a vital element for the success of any spirit brand. Design has many functions such as brand development and awareness, functionality and the communication of the brand to consumers. The ISC Design & Packaging Awards recognise the very best design within the spirits sector. They are supported by some of the world's leading design agencies.

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:

  • Established Individual Brand
  • Established Product Range
  • New Individual Brand
  • New Product Range
  • Re-packaged Individual Brand
  • Re-packaged Product Range
  • Additional Packaging
  • Bottle Design
  • Illustration
  • Typography
  • Category Innovation via design
  • Design for a Specialist Retail Channel
  • Pre-Mixed Drinks

Recognition Awards

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.

    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.
    This award honours a young individual who has demonstrated exceptional talent within the field of distillation and production of spirits.
    This award celebrates the work and commitment of an individual, who has made a significant impact on the drinks industry during their career.

The Category Chairman