Blue Nectar Tequila and iichiko Shochu Named Chairman's Trophy Winners at Prestigious Ultimate Spirits Challenge

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Colangelo & Partners’ growing spirits portfolio receives top awards by leading industry experts.

The Ultimate Spirits Challenge has awarded Blue Nectar Tequila and iichiko Shochu with their highest honor, the Chairman’s Trophy. Dubbed the “world’s trailblazing spirits competition,” the Ultimate Spirits Challenge is led by globally renowned spirits reviewer Paul Pacult and an expert panel of judges from around the world. The judges taste over 4 days in Hawthorne, NY, with upwards of 400 spirits to evaluate. iichiko BLU won for the Shochu category and took home a 90+ score for five of their expressions, while Blue Nectar’s Founder’s Blend won for the best Añejo within the 100% Agave Tequila category. Both of the brands are represented by Colangelo & Partners, a leading integrated communications agency specializing in premium wine and spirits.

“We’re thrilled that Blue Nectar and iichiko have been honored by the team at the USC, the best of the best in the spirits industry,” said Gino Colangelo, president of Colangelo & Partners. “We represent the highest quality spirits and often collaborate with members of the USC’s esteemed panel who guide spirits and cocktail trends, and develop some of the best drink menus in the world.”

Colangelo & Partners, which recently celebrated their 10 year anniversary, continues to be an important player in the spirits world by helping to build awareness for premium, entrepreneurial spirits brands. Since January 2017, the spirits team at Colangelo & Partners has expanded their clientele to include Aviation American Gin, Berentzen Liqueurs and Purus Vodka. Colangelo & Partners also represents Diplomático Rum, Lost Distillery Company Scotch Whisky, Sombra Mezcal, TY KU Sake, Consejo Regulador de la Denominaciones de Origen Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, Lepanto Brandy, Nomad Outland Whisky and London No. 1 Gin. Colangelo & Partners focuses on four strategic pillars of expertise: media relations, social media and influencer relations, trade relations, and events.

About Blue Nectar Tequila
Founded by father and son BN and Nikhil Bahadur, Blue Nectar Tequila ( is a small-batch, super-premium Tequila focused on agave-forward flavor profiles indicative of the terroir of “el valle” or the valley of the Tequila producing region. Using estate-grown blue agaves from “el valle,” Blue Nectar skillfully crafts and bottles its Tequilas in Amatitán, Mexico, widely recognized as the birthplace of Tequila. Since its launch in 2011, Blue Nectar has garnered numerous industry accolades in both the United States and Mexico. Current production includes Silver, Reposado Extra Blend, Reposado Special Craft and Añejo Founder’s Blend Tequilas.

About iichiko Shochu
iichiko’s shochu ( is the #1 barley shochu in Japan. Each iichiko shochu begins with only the highest quality barley and water drawn from natural springs deep beneath the earth. The flavors of iichiko’s shochu are refreshing and boast a crystal clear taste, truly embodying the essence of Japanese refinement. The lush greenery, pure water and cool breezes of Oita Prefecture, famously known for their hot springs, provide the perfect setting to house the distillery where iichiko shochu is produced. It all begins with carefully selecting the finest natural ingredients and water. Advanced distilling technologies are then applied to produce the highest quality shochu. Since 1958, iichiko has prided itself on putting quality first, the way it’s always been done and will always continue to be done.

About Colangelo & Partners
Colangelo & Partners ( specializes in premium food, wine, spirits and lifestyle brands, and has long established relationships with the key press that drive these business categories and help determine the industry leaders. Agency principals have years of experience in retail and distribution as well as communications, a rare combination that gives Colangelo & Partners invaluable insights into consumer purchasing behavior. The agency focuses on 'closing the loop' between creative communications programs, distribution, promotion, publicity and the consumer in order to maximize the efficiency of its communications programs and deliver measurable results. Founded in 2006, Colangelo & Partners was honored as one of the year’s top integrated communications firms at the 2013 Agency Elite Awards and for one of the best digital marketing campaigns at the 2014 Digital PR Awards.

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Sara Gorelick

Sean Hudgins
Colangelo & Partners
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since: 08/2012
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