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Bartender Spirits Awards' 2021 Spirits Brand Of The Year

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16/06/2021 Just in! Uncle Nearest 1820 Premium Single Barrel Whiskey has won the prestigious 'Spirit Of The Year' at the 2021 Bartender Spirits Awards.

Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey is inspired by the best whiskey maker the world never knew, the first African-American master distiller on record in the United States, Nearest Green. The Uncle Nearest brand, wholly owned by Uncle Nearest, Inc., encompasses a premium aged whiskey, an 11-year-old single barrel product, and a 7-year-old small batch offering, all distilled, aged, bottled and hand-labeled in Tennessee. The whiskey is currently available in all 50 states and 12 countries, in more than 25,000 stores, bars, and restaurants.

Fawn Weaver, Founder & CEO of Uncle Nearest started whiskey brand Uncle Nearest to honor an African American overlooked in history books.

With so many spirits brands competing for the back bar space, the medal winners at the third Bartenders Spirits Awards could be the place to look for where spirits are judged by top bartenders and mixologists for the on-premise market of the USA.

The results from the third edition of the Bartender Spirits Awards are now out and here are the highlights from America's leading spirits competition for the bar industry.

David McPhillips Director Beverage Strategy & Innovation for Buffalo Wild Wings, Atlanta, GA, judge at the 2021 Bartender Spirits Awards

The Bartender Spirits Awards judge spirits across the parameters of Mixability, Balance and Versatility, Taste, Mouthfeel and Finish, Package and Price.

This competition recognizes that bartenders are the true influencers – their passions and tastes provide direction for the consumer, especially via their guidance with wine, beer or spirit recommendations. “We really wanted a way to recognize those spirits that would be a great addition to any bar and that are completely on-trend in terms of packaging and price,” said Sid Patel, Founder, and CEO of Beverage Trade Network. “Whether bartenders are looking to plug a very specific gap in their existing spirits inventory, or construct an entirely new cocktail menu from scratch, what better advice could they get than from fellow bartenders?”


Medals were awarded to those spirits that met very specific judging criteria, with a goal of identifying spirits that should become additions to bar inventories. Each spirits brand was evaluated on Mixability, Balance and Versatility, Taste, Mouthfeel and Finish, Package and Price.

Jessica Schjavland at the judging event of 2021 Bartender Spirits Awards

Bartender Spirits Awards was able to resume in-person judging in 2021 where America’s top bartenders came to review brands from more than 45 different countries.

Here are the top winners of the 2021 Bartenders Spirits Awards

Spirit of the Year - Uncle Nearest 1820 Premium Single Barrel Whiskey

Distillery of the Year - Uncle Nearest

Best Value of the Year - Jean Fillioux Cognac Grande Champagne La Pouyade

Best Package of the Year - Green Hat Gin Citrus Floral Gin

Liqueur of the Year - Amaro Di Angostura

Gin of the Year - Green Hat Gin Citrus Floral

Vodka of the Year - Cylinder Vodka

Tequila of the Year - Espanita Anejo Tequila

World Whisky of the Year - Uncle Nearest 1820 Premium Single Barrel Whiskey

Brandy/ Cognac of the Year - Jean Fillioux Cognac Grande Champagne La Pouyade

Rum of the Year - Terra Mariae Spiced Rum

View 2021 All Bartenders Spirits Awards Winners

The 2021 competition saw more than 850 submissions from 45 countries. The United States had the top submissions followed by Mexico and France.

"Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the industry,'' explained Sid Patel, CEO of Beverage Trade Network, the organizing company of BSA, "and when we come out of this, we hope to see a strong rebound in the hospitality sector. The increased number of submissions in 2021 truly demonstrates the faith our industry has in the long term outlook of our hospitality industry".

Winners will also be promoted on BTN’s new direct-to-consumer portals Los Angeles Drinks Guide, London Drinks Guide, New York Drinks Guide, Chicago Drinks Guide,  and San Francisco Drinks Guide along with BTN’s trade portals Bartenders Business and BevRoute.

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The top 100 spirits for bars will also be marketed to thousands of bartenders and mixologists via the Top 100 On-Premise Spirits website.

About the Bartender Spirits Awards

The aim of the Bartender Spirits Awards is to provide independent and honest reviews for brands who are looking to enter the U.S. on-premise industry. The judging panel consists of some of the most renowned names in the U.S. bar industry, all of them with extensive expertise within the on-premise industry. The result is a relevant and practical source of reference for bartenders, bar managers, bar owners, and other industry professionals when making purchasing decisions for their establishments.

Header image credit: Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey

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