The Results Are In for the Inaugural San Diego Spirits Festival International Spirits Competition and It Just Might Be the Toughest Competition in the Industry

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The competition was open to emerging craft distillers, American merchant bottlers and large distillers alike, the competition brought renowned experts from the worlds of spirits and hospitality together to determine the best tasting spirits in a blind analysis, the competition was led by Industry experts Lance Mayhew and Skip Raddle.

Dry Fly Bourbon Double Gold

Dry Fly Bourbon Best in Show.

The San Diego International Spirits Competition might just be the toughest spirits competition in the industry. With one Double Gold medal (Highest Recommendation) awarded to Dry Fly Bourbon, and eight Gold medals (Highly Recommended), the judges at the competition awarded these distinguished medals to the best of the best. A highly-qualified panel of spirits judges from throughout California evaluated the entries using a proprietary scoring system that evaluated each spirit on a number of factors, including taste, appearance, aroma and commercial suitability. All entries were evaluated using double-blind organoleptic analysis to separate the finest distilled spirits from the pack, and after the judges had spoken, the results were clear. Dry Fly Straight Bourbon and the eight gold medal winners stood above the rest of the competition.

Dry Fly Best In Show

Spokane Washington and San Diego California don't have a lot in common. One is known for fly fishing and wheat farming while the other is known for fish tacos, beaches and hosting the occasional Super Bowl. However, Spokane's Dry Fly Distilling Bourbon was awarded Best in Show and the only Double Gold medal (Highest Recommendation) at the San Diego International Spirits Competition after a rigorous analysis by a panel California's top spirits experts. Additionally, Dry Fly Wheat Whiskey scored a coveted Gold medal (Highly Recommended), while Dry Fly Triticale Whiskey, Dry Fly Gin, Dry Fly Vodka and Dry Fly Port Finished Wheat Whiskey were awarded Silver medals (Recommended/Excellent), resulting in Dry Fly Distillery winning more medals than any other producer in the competition. Lance Mayhew, co-founder of the San Diego International Spirits Competition, said, "Dry Fly's farm-to-table ethos, and commitment to producing high quality products seemed to resonate with the judges, even as the spirits were being judged blind. It really says something about Dry Fly when a blind judging by industry experts results in success like this."

Gold Medal Winners

Being a Gold medal winner at the San Diego Spirits Festival's International Spirits Competition is something to brag about. With just nine of the highly-coveted Gold medals (Highly Recommended) awarded, setting these brands apart from the other spirits in achieving this distinction.

While some wine or spirits competitions may award dozens of Gold medals, the panel of California spirits experts judging the San Diego International Spirits Competition put all of the spirits in the competition to the test. Lance Mayhew, co-founder of the San Diego International Spirits Competition said, "Seeing the results of the competition, it is clear that only the best of the best were awarded Gold medals during this competition. This was a tough competition, and each judge provided a Highly Recommended score to these products."

  •     Ransom Old Tom Gin - Gold
  •     Dry Fly Wheat Whiskey- Gold
  •     Old English Gin- Gold
  •     Banks Rum Dark- Gold
  •     Banks Rum Silver- Gold
  •     ZU Bisongrass- Gold
  •     Roundhouse Barrel Aged Gin- Gold
  •     Mandarine Napoleon- Gold
  •     Rhum Clement- Gold

Silver Medal Winners

Most spirits would love a Recommended/Excellent rating from a spirits competition. Few get such a distinction; the following listed products have achieved just such a ranking at San Diego International Spirits Competition with their recent Silver medal award. A panel of spirits experts from throughout California gathered recently in San Diego to sip, savor and judge a large variety of entries ranging from the common to the esoteric. Only those found to be scored high enough for the judges to personally recommend were awarded the Silver medal. Lance Mayhew, co-founder of the San Diego International Spirits Competition said, "Achieving the Silver medal at the San Diego International Spirits Competition is a great achievement." After the blind tasting, the judges awarded the Silver medal to the following brands and recognized each product as an excellent example and one that they would personally recommend.

  •     Failte Vodka- Silver
  •     Infanta Lambanog- Silver
  •     Dirty Tequila- Silver
  •     Bendistillery Ginger Vodka - Silver
  •     Bendistillery Pepper Vodka – Silver
  •     619 Vodka- Silver
  •     HRD 1910- Silver
  •     Geranium Gin- Silver
  •     Rogue vodka- Silver
  •     Rogue Spruce Gin- Silver
  •     Manzanita Orange Vodka - Silver
  •     Rhum JM- Silver
  •     Commisario Blanco- Silver
  •     Commisario Repo- Silver
  •     Commisario Anejo- Silver
  •     Dry Fly Triticale Whiskey- Silver
  •     Dry Fly Port Finish- Silver
  •     Dry Fly Vodka- Silver
  •     Dry Fly Gin- Silver
  •     Batch 206 Gin- Silver
  •     Union Gin- Silver
  •     Roundhouse Gin- Silver
  •     Buzzballz Strawberry Rum Job- Silver
  •     kkAda Sutra liqueur- Silver
  •     Zircon Azul Plata- Silver
  •     Aga Vie Agave Spirit

Bronze Medal Winners

Many spirits never achieve a recommended rating from a spirits competition. Few get a distinction; ten products have achieved the Bronze ranking at the San Diego International Spirits Competition with their recent Bronze medal awards. Only those found to be scored high enough for the judges to recommend as notable were awarded the Bronze medal. Lance Mayhew, co-founder of the San Diego International Spirits Competition said, "Achieving the Bronze medal at the San Diego International Spirits Competition is a nice achievement the judges awarded the Bronze medal to recognize these products as a notable example and one that they recommend."

Best in Category

Nothing says excellence quite like being the best in category at the San Diego International Spirits Competition. Each entry had to undergo blind organoleptic analysis by an esteemed panel of California spirits experts before being rated on a proprietary scoring system. After careful consideration of each spirits qualities, the following spirits were judged to be the best in their individual categories:

  •     Dry Fly Bourbon- Best in Category (Whiskey), Best in Show

Best in Category

  •     Banks "7 Golden Age" Rum- Best in Category (Rum)
  •     Ransom Old Tom Gin- Best in Category (Gin)
  •     ZU Bison Grass Vodka- Best in Category (Vodka/Flavored Vodka)
  •     Comisario Reposado Tequila- Best in Category (Tequila)
  •     Mandarine Napoleon – Best in Category (Brandy)
  •     kkAda Sutra liqueur – Best in Category (Liqueur)
  •     Buzzballz Strawberry Rum Job (Ready-to-Drink, RTD)

Lance Mayhew and Skip Raddle bring over 20 years of industry experience. The San Diego International Spirits Competition was held in conjunction with the San Diego Spirits Festival, which just concluded its highly-successful fourth year. For more information, or to see the full list of medal winners, go to SanDiegoSpiritsFestival.com or contact sraddle(at)sk2rpub(dot)com.

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Liz Edwards

Brook Larios
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