The judging will be conducted by panels of (a minimum of) three qualified trade buyers. Our trade-only judging panels interact with alcoholic beverages and their customers on a daily basis. They are a mix of on-premise buyers from around the United States.     

The judging will take place a few days before BAR 17 Show in Chicago, where the top winners from this competition will be later showcased.

If the judges are faced with an obviously flawed bottle during the competition, no more than one additional bottle of the same entry will be opened and tasted.


The Bar Business Beverage Competition medals will be awarded on a merit basis by a majority vote. The judges are instructed to grant no awards when, in their opinion, the beverages are not ones they would import, distribute, buy, or sell in their own business within the price category. Judges are asked to evaluate the liquids in silence until all panel members have finished their evaluation, and then reach a consensus.

Judges' votes are recorded by a staff moderator. If there is a significant difference among the judges’ votes, panelists are encouraged to reach a consensus and/or seek counsel from the Head Judge, Adam Levy.


Wines, beer, spirits and mixers will be presented to judges in coded glasses in a blind tasting format. No bottles are visible to judges at any time until the competition is finished. Staff members are prohibited from mentioning any brand names entered or not in the competition.

The decision of the judges is final and no changes are made to awards after judging is complete. Judges receive a copy of the code sheets of the liquids they judged with awards noted, so they are able to compare our records with their notes from the judging.