The San Francisco World Spirits Competition celebrated its 10th Anniversary with a record number of international entries, topping last year's high mark by 17%. On March 13th and 14th, 30 of the most prestigious spirits experts in the United States tasted 1,024 premium spirits during the judging held at Hotel Nikko in San Francisco, making the oldest American spirits competition also the largest.


The San Francisco World Spirits Competition Founder and Executive Director, Anthony Dias Blue of The Tasting Panel Magazine, celebrated the 10th Anniversary by introducing renowned mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim as the new Director of Judging in 2010. Abou-Ganim joined the San Francisco World Spirits Competition as a judge in 2005. Together Blue and Abou-Ganim organized panels of spirits professionals to evaluate 1,024 entries representing 58 countries and six out of the seven continents (only Antarctica was missing), making this a globally influential spirits competition.

Inviting the largest number of judges to-date in the history of the competition, 30 spirits professionals tasted through 1,024 spirits in 82 classification categories and awarded 131 Double Gold Medals, 189 Gold Medals, 347 Silver Medals and 250 Bronze Medals. Double Gold occurs when all judges on a panel agree that the spirit is Gold, which immediately upgrades the selection to Double Gold status.

Taking top honors, The Tasting Panel Magazine "Distillery of the Year" went to The Glenmorangie Distillery in Tain, Scotland and "Importer of the Year" went to Moet Hennessy USA, in New York, New York. "Best in Show-White," was claimed by Trago Silver Tequila, Altos de Jalisco, Mexico ($40), and Isle of Jura Single Malt Scotch, Prophecy, Islands, Scotland ($70), was named "Best in Show-Whisky." Pere Magloire 20 Year Old Vintage Calvados, Normandy, France, received "Best in Show-Brandy" ($100), and Grand Marnier 100th Anniversary Liqueur, France ($135), was named "Best in Show-Liqueur."

"The San Francisco World Spirits Competition is privileged to receive entries from the top spirits companies worldwide every year, and it is our responsibility to match that caliber with top-quality judges showing consistent and objective evaluation," Blue said. "These factors over the past ten years have created the opportunity to host one of the world's largest spirits competitions."

In addition to the premium awards, the top ranking spirit in each category was awarded a "Best" title. Trago Reposado Tequila, Altos de Jalisco, Mexico ($45), took "Best Reposado Tequila," and El Jimador Anejo Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico ($30), shared the award and tied with Mujer Bonita Anejo Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico ($25), for "Best Anejo Tequila." El Zacatecano Anejo Mescal, Zacatecas, Mexico ($42), won "Best Mescal."

Director of Judging Abou-Ganim noted, "It is a great honor to celebrate the 10th year of this global competition with the finest collection of spirits palates in the U.S. and a privilege to work with such an esteemed group of my peers to evaluate the impressive spirits submitted."

Additional results can be found at

2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition judges included:

Tony Abou-Ganim – Master Mixologist, The Modern Mixologist, Las Vegas; Bridget Albert – Southern Wine & Spirits, Chicago; Brian Baker – VP Sales & Marketing, Chateau Montelena, Calistoga; Stephen Beal – Master of Whisky, Consultant & Educator, San Francisco; Julio Bermejo – Tequila Master / Spirits Buyer, Tommy's Mexican Restaurant, San Francisco; Jacques Bezuidenhout – Chief Mixologist, Sangoma Spirits & Cocktail, San Francisco; Anthony Dias Blue – President / Editor-in-Chief, Blue Lifestyle / The Tasting Panel Magazine, Los Angeles; Mark Bowery – Wine & Spirits Consultant, Mark Bowery Consulting, Mendocino; Katie Ballou Calhoun – President, Calhoun & Company Communications, San Francisco; Dale DeGroff – President, King Cocktail Co., New York; Aidan Demarest – Owner / Partner, Tello / Demarest – Liquid Assests Consulting, Los Angeles; Janet Dyer – Partner, JAM Wines, San Francisco; Michael Feil – GM / Wine & Spirits Buyer, Westchester Country Club, New York; Doug Frost, MS & MW – Wine & Spirits Writer, Kansas City StarThomas "Mac" Gregory – Food & Beverage Director, The Phoenician Hotel, Arizona; Richard Carleton Hacker – Spirits Journalist, Robb Report, Los Angeles; Kim Haasarud – The Liquid Chef, Liquid Architecture, Los Angeles; Mendel Kohn – Sales, Vinifera Wine Marketing, California; Francesco Lafranconi – National Director of Mixology & Spirits Educator, Southern Wine & Spirits, Las Vegas; Ann Littlefield – International Beverage Industry Marketing & Sales, Napa; Sean Ludford – Director,, Chicago; Jordan Mackay – Wine & Spirits Editor, 7×7 Magazine, San Francisco; David Mahoney – Wine & Spirits Writer, , Minneapolis; Meridith May – Publisher & Executive Editor, The Tasting Panel Magazine, Los Angeles; Tim McDonald – President, Wine Spoken Here, Napa; Jeffrey Morgenthaler – Bar Manager / Founder, Clyde Common /, Portland; Robert Plotkin – Author, Trade Writer, Beverage Consultant, BarMedia, Arizona; Audrey Saunders – Co-Owner & Mixologist, Le Pegu Club, New York; Kevin M. Vogt, MS – Wine & Spirits Director, Emeril's Restaurants Las Vegas; David Wondrich – Spirits Writer, Esquire Magazine, New York.

Source: San Francisco World Spirits Competition