As many of my regular readers will know, I have been involved in the Peoples Choice Drink Awards for a few years now, in fact it was being involved in the wine awards judging back in October 2019, that convinced me to sit my WSET level 2 in wines and spirits, followed by my Level 3 in Wine.
For last years awards, Peoples Choice added spirits to the judging, which with it bought a new host of spirits judges, including myself. It was a great addition, however last years judging and winners ceremony was very different due to lockdowns and restrictions.
This year however, things started to get back to normal, with the spirits categories breaking off from the wine awards, creating its very own Peoples Choice Spirit Awards.
Judging for the awards took place towards the end of last year, with sessions in Edinburgh, London and Manchester. Each judging session starts with everyday consumers blindly tasting spirits from various categories and scoring them for things like colour, taste and appearance as well as having to fit the brief of the category they have entered.
It’s this ‘consumer’ element that sets the peoples choice drinks awards apart from other spirit/wine awards, as its asking the people that buy the drinks for their opinions, rather then just being marked by experts.
A shortlist of entrants from the first sessions, is then blind tasted by the experts, consisting of industry experts, drinks writers and even the odd blogger such as myself.
With the judging complete, this week finally saw the first stand alone Peoples Choice Spirits Awards Event take place in Manchester’s Stoller Hall, with the finalists and winners were announced.
The event was a great success, with spirit producers, buyers, writers and consumers, all able to mingle whilst enjoying a drink or 3. Plus of course it meant that we could finally discover which drinks had hit the spot with the judges during the blind tasting.
All the winners were awarded with their custom cartoon award (produced by renowned cartoonist Tony Husband) by The Three Drinkers duo, Helena Nicklin and Aidy Smith.
As well as catching up with a number of spirit producers, other highlights definitely included a rather superb vodka martini from Broken Clock Vodka, which then went on to be the winner in the Vodka:Small Batch Award, plus a rather special Classic G&T by Tobermory, who came out winner in their category with their Limited Edition Hebridean Mountain Gin.
There were so many well deserved winners on the evening, plus as a judge, it was great to find out what it was we had been tasting. For a full a list of winners and runners up, be sure to check out the Peoples Choice Drinks Awards website here.
With the spirits awards announced, attention will now turn to wine, with judging for this years Peoples Choice Wine Awards taking place in March, with the winners announced at what is bound to be yet another magnificent awards ceremony later in the year.
If you’re interested in Judging or Submitting, details can be found at The Peoples Choice Drinks Awards website here, but be quick, as time is running out!