Judging Process

The judging will be conducted by panels of a minimum of four qualified trade buyers. Our trade-only judging panelists work with spirits and their customers on a daily basis. They are a mix of restauranteurs, sommeliers, retail spirits buyers, distributors and importers. We try to assemble each judging panel with a mix of different disciplines so multiple viewpoints will be considered in the evaluation of the wines. The judges' travel and lodging during the competition are covered by the BISC.

• The judging will take place at the beautiful Kempinski Hotel in the heart of Berlin.

• The Berlin International Spirits Competition medals will be awarded on a merit basis by a majority vote. The judges are instructed to grant no awards or medals when, in their opinion, the spirits are not ones they would import, distribute, buy or sell in their businesses based on product and price category. Judges are asked to evaluate the spirits in silence until all panel members have finished their evaluation and then open a discussion to reach a consensus. Judge votes are recorded by a BISC staff moderator. If there is a significant difference among the judges’ votes, panelists are encouraged to reach a consensus and, if needed, seek counsel from the Head Judge Adam Levy.

• Award levels are Double Gold, Gold, Silver, and Bronze.
- Double Gold: Phenomenal Product (Must Be Unanimous Decision by Panelists)
- Gold: Buyers “Love” It
- Silver: Buyers “Like” It
- Bronze: Buyers would purchase it

• Double Gold award winners will be re-tasted by all panelists to establish which brands may be eligible to receive a ‘Best of Category’ endorsement in its pricing category

• If the judges are faced with an obviously flawed bottle of a product, no more than one additional bottle of the same entry will be opened and tasted.

• The tasting order of entries is set in our database first by panel, then category. Large categories are randomly split by the database so that no panel is asked to taste more than 60 spirits in the same category.

• Spirits are presented to judges in coded glasses. No bottles are visible to judges at any time until the competition is finished. Staff members are strictly forbidden from discussing any brand names, whether entered or not in the competition.

• The decision of the judges is final and no changes are made to awards after the judging is complete. Judges receive a copy of the code sheets of the spirits they judged with awards noted, so they are able to compare our records with their notes from the judging.