The competition

The International Spirits Award for spirits, fine brandy, liqueurs, fruit wines and mixed drinks from around the world / Credits: AdLumina, RalfZiegler

Spirits have been distilled and drunk for centuries now and the occasions to do so are manifold. The choice of spirits is huge, ranging from clear schnapps through to fruit brandies and liqueurs. In many countries, spirits are an established part of a cultured lifestyle and have their place in retailers' ranges. It was against this background that the ISW International Spirits Award was launched in 2004, with the aim of strengthening the position of spirits and giving them new momentum.

The International Spirits Award is the name of a respected and well-organised event. With the help of the special ISW publication in which all winners of gold and silver medals are listed, consumers are provided with valuable orientation support.


The jurors are renowned experts from research institutes and from the ranks of producers, retailers and restaurateurs who handle spirits daily. The spirits are tested strictly in line with a prescribed system. First of all, spirits are assessed by their appearance, i.e. by colour and clarity. Then it is the turn of the senses. The taster assesses the smell of the product by its purity and typicality. The next step is the actual tasting - the palate has to confirm what eyes and nose have registered. Finally, jurors make an assessment of the overall impression, considering the harmony of aromas and alcohol.

The system, which specifies weighted points for each of the criteria of appearance, smell, taste and harmony/overall impression, ideally produces a total of 100 points. Each spirits entry is tasted and assessed by a commission consisting of 5-6 jurors.


A special ISW supplement with a print run of more than 100,000 copies reports in detail on prize-winning spirits and their producers and is included with all the wine, beverage and hospitality trade magazines published by Meininger Verlag. Our research database on the internet gives detailed information on all the award-winning spirits and their producers.