A brief explanation of our spirit categories

Our goal is to avoid being too prescriptive here. We don't want to be policing your entries to ensure they meet strict guidelines. Please use your best judgement. We've stated that we can change your entry categories without notice but we'll do our best to contact you if we make any changes.

  • Absinthe - should have wormwood and be anise-flavoured
  • Akvavit - main characteristic should be caraway or dill
  • Amaro or Vermouth - Italian-style liqueur / spirit is flavoured/aromatized, including bittering agents
  • Brandy or Eau de Vie - aged or un-aged brandy, if un-aged generally a colourless, fruit-based spirit
  • Gin - predominant flavour should come from juniper berries; no restrictions on production method
  • Gin, aged - must have spent some time in a wood barrel
  • Liqueur - with the exception of spirits which fall into the amaro category, these can be fruit, cream, herb, nut, etc liqueurs
  • Other aged spirit (will be called Aged Spirits) - this could include a barrel-aged vodka, or another other aged spirit which doesn't fit in another category
  • Other white spirit (will be called White Spirits) - this includes white whisky (white dog), or other white spirits if you don't feel they fit in another category
  • Rum - this is a little more contentious - we'll accept rum-like products that may not be primarily sugar-cane as long as it looks like a rum, tastes like a rum, and smells like a rum
  • Vodka - primarily flavourless, clear spirit with no restrictions on mash bill
  • Vodka, infused or flavoured - any vodka that has some infused flavour - e.g. spices, herbs, fruit - but primarily considered a vodka
  • Whisky -  this includes any spirit based on a grain mash (corn, barley, rye, wheat) which is barrel-aged; if you call it whisky on your label you can enter it in this category
  • Whisky, young (aged under 3 years) - this includes any spirit based on a grain mash (corn, barley, rye, wheat) which is barrel-aged for any period of time

We know that there are many others. Liqueurs could be broken down into several categories, as could whiskies, and other general categories could be added. We've tried to achieve a balance of technical accuracy, a reasonable representation of the types of spirits which are currently being made, and perhaps most importantly categories which are understood by consumers.

As the competition and the industry grows, we expect to see a broader selection of spirit categories.

New for the 2019 competition - you can add addition information under the category selection. This will be useful for broader categories, so you can indicate more specifically what the product is (e.g. under Liquor you could add that the spirit is an amaretto).

I've got a spirit which could be added to more than one category. What should I do?

Pick the most appropriate one! If you have an an Amaro, then technically you could choose the Liqueur but of course it makes more sense to go with the Amaro category. One might say that technically a gin is an apéritif and also a flavoured vodka, but clearly here you should choose the gin category. If you're not sure, contact us in advance.