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2023 San Diego Spirits Festival
International Bottle Competition

September 9th 2023 

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The Blind Tasting

The 2023 San Diego Spirits Festival International Bottle Competition is open for entries from emerging craft distillers, American merchant bottlers and large distillers alike; and it is open to all classes of spirits, domestic and international – whiskey, bourbon, gin, brandy, vodka, rum, agave spirits and liqueurs. 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  SEPTEMBER 2ND 2023   


click here to enter online


We are the most cost-effective International Spirits Competition

Design Awards are also judged at no additional cost

Winning brands have full use of their medals and images

Our judges are free of any ties to specific brands,

they include distributors, educators and bartenders


The Process

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.

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.

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Meet The Judges

Andrew Falkner - Distilled-Sprits Professional

Philip Dobard - President Culinary Culture 

Mike Morales - Master Catador Tequila Aficionado 

Alexander “Alex” Perez - founder

Roman Ramoya - Vice President at Old Town Liquor 

Brian Christensen - President Artisan Spirits Magazine

Christine Crnek - Founder and Co-inventor at (Neat) Arsilica, Inc.

Irina Ponomarenko -North American Sommelier Association

Rick Levy  - Tequila Aficionado - Tequila Jockey Tasting Team

Eric Zandoya - Tequila Aficionado - Tequila Jockey Tasting Team

Rich Manning – Writer, Blogger, all round expert

John Fluke - Placed4Success LLC (P4STV)

Dennis Morales -Drink Labs


Meet The Judges

Jim Johnston  - Tequila Aficionado - Tequila Jockey Tasting Team
Dave Dinius - Tequila Aficionado - Tequila Jockey Tasting Team
Bryce Taylor - Tequila Aficionado = Tequila Jockey Tasting Team
Jason Silverman - Tequila Aficionado - Tequila Jockey Tasting Team
Hayden Stewart - Sommelier, WSET 3

Crawford McCarthy - The Best Ceats

Paul Garduño - Patrons - Tequila expert

Sean Halman - Shadow Ridge Spirits - Distiller

Susan Frank - Founding Partner, Spirits of Agave

Erin Rea - Beverage Consultant & Spirits Specialist

Wendy Hodges - Spirits Expert Chilled Magazine

Jay Ojeda - Spirits Expert, judge

Chris Tunstall- Co-Founder A Bar Above Chief of Brand Product Development

Rob Harrah - A Bar Above Mixologist & Course Developer


Advisory Council

GEORGE MANSKA inventor of the Neat Glass is the Advisory Council for 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.

Why we use NEAT as our official judging glass:

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.

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