George Manska, inventor of the Neat Glass is the Advisory Council fo the San Diego Spirits Festival International Spirits Competition. George is the Chief of Research and Development, Corporate Strategy officer of Arsilica, Inc., Las Vegas, NV and inventor of the NEAT glass, and NEAT science of nosing and evaluation.

Register for the 2015 Competition
Register for the 2015 Competition
Register for the 2015 Competition

Why we use NEAT as our official judging glass:

For years the spirits industry has ignored science and promoted tiny tulip glasses originally designed for fortified wine.  Overabundant ethanol in spirits quickly numbs the nose in these tiny glasses rendering evaluation useless.  NEAT eliminates nose burn and numbing, displays all aromas, and delivers competition level performance, letting every spirit speak for itself.  NEAT improves credibility of spirits, judges and ratings.  The best competitions use NEAT.



The 2019 San Diego Spirits Festival International Bottle Competition is open for entries from emerging craft distillers, American merchant bottlers and large distillers alike, the competition will bring renowned experts from the worlds of spirits and hospitality together to determine the best tasting spirits in a blind analysis, the double blind competition will be based on a 100 point scale the competition will be held on August 10, 2019, two weeks before the festival and the results will be announced at the 11th San Diego Spirits Festival on August 24, 2019 and medals will be given out to those brands who are exhibiting.

We are the most cost-effective International Spirits Competition

Entry Fee $280

Design Awards are also judged at no additional cost

Winning brands have full use of their medals and images

The integrity of San Diego Spirits Festival International Spirits Competition starts with the quality and expertise of our Esteemed Judges. Our Judges have a wide variety of experiences and backgrounds and this facilitates a true, unbiased quality of judging of all the brands that have entered.


 2019 Judges  - judges subject to changes 

Philip Dobard – Museum of the American Cocktail

Andrew Faulkner – Andrew Faulkner Communications

Brian Christensen – Artisan Spirits Magazine

Felipe Soto Mares -Catador (Sommelier)

Paul Garduño  - PGV Restaurant Consulting

Rich Manning – Writer, Blogger, all round expert

Forrest Cokley – Writer, Blogger, all round expert

Greg Nagel – Writer, Blogger, all round expert

Billy Nordmeier  - Certified Sommelier, WSET Advanced, CSW  

John Fluke - Placed4Success LLC (P4STV)

Jeremiah White – American Beverage Brokers

Dennis Morales -Drink Labs

Eric Stand - The Whiskey Scout

Julie Albin - Brand & Media Strategist, Journalist, Dip WSET Educator 

Ilona Thompson -  CWAS Editor-in-Chief Palette Exposure

Lenny Gotter - Business Founder,and Private Consultant

Lisa Copenhaver - Mixologist- Spirits Judge


Spirits will be  presented to judges in coded NEAT glasses in a blind tasting format. No spirits bottles will be visible to judges at any time until the competition is finished. Staff members will be prohibited from mentioning any spirits brand names entered in the competition.


For International entrants to the competition that need assistance with import into the United States, please contact our exclusive importer AMERICAN SPIRITS LTD.

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