It’s a sign that things are starting to get back a little more towards normal when the various drinks competitions start to open their doors for new entries for their 2021 events. The Buyer is once again very pleased to be the business media partner for The People’s Choice Wine Awards which is about to go into its fourth year. Still the only major competition that includes consumers in the judging process. This year’s awards are also being extended to include a number of spirits categories for the first time. Here are all the details.
The People’s Choice Wine Awards hopes to build on a record year by widening it out to spirits, inviting new judges and promoting its awards winners on video, YouTube and its own podcast.
When The Buyer first heard about the People’s Choice Wine Awards it was actually through an old school friend from the Wirral who had been invited to take part in the very first round of judging for this inaugural event. As he had nothing to do with the wine industry it seemed he must have been mistaken. How can someone who is not a professional wine taster be involved in judging what are the best wines on sale in the UK?
But that’s what makes the People’s Choice Wine Awards stand out from every other major drinks competition. It not only involves every day shoppers of wine at each stage of its judging process, it invites them to judge wines in categories that match the kind of occasions when they might be buying wine for – be it to drink with friends in the back garden, for a summer BBQ or for a formal dinner party.
Over the last three years it has, step by step, thanks to the personality and persuasion skills of its founder, Janet Harrison captured the imagination of the wine industry too. But as this is an occasion-led tasting competition it attracts entries from all channels of the trade, from producers and brand owners, through to their suppliers and distributors and, crucially, the retailers and online players tasked with talking to and engaging with the consumers these awards are aimed at – the every day wine drinker.
That’s why The Buyer has been so pleased to have worked with the competition from its first year, helping to promote and explain what it is all about as its business media partner.
Time to introduce spirits
This year’s event promises to be the biggest and most important of them all as it has been expanded to also include a number of spirits categories for the first time.
Harrison explains why she the thought the time was right to widen the competition out: “We’ve been very busy during the lockdown period, including working on a re-brand for the awards. This is mainly due to the addition of the People’s Choice Spirits Awards. Yes, this year, we will be opening the competition out to a small number of spirits categories including gin, whisky, whiskey and rum. We’ve been asked several times, by suppliers, about including spirits and we feel our ethos, particularly involving consumers, lends itself really well to this. It will also bring something new and exciting to the spirits awards scene.”
New spirits categories include:
Across all spirits categories:
Mindful Drinking: low/no alcohol.
Out of the Ordinary: for innovative spirits categories.
The Perfect G&T: classic gin for classic tonics.
Gin Fusion: gins infused with fruits or exotic ingredients.
Treat Yourself: premium whiskeys/whiskies.
Weekday Whiskies/Whiskeys: easy drinking, including blended varieties.
On the Rocks: the classic sipping rums.
Spice up your Life: for spiced and flavoured rums.
Enter here: You can find out more and enter the spirits categories here.
As well as inviting consumers to take part in the first and second round of judging, the awards is also, as it does with its wine awards, bringing in a number of professional trade tasters to help with the final selections. These include:
- Dawn Davies MW: Speciality Drinks.
- The Three Drinkers: Helena Nicklin (also a wine judge), Aidy Smith and Colin Hampden-White.
- Kristiane Sherry: Master of Malt.
- Dave Marsland: Drinks Enthusiast & The Rum Festival Manchester.
The wine categories remain largely the same as last year, with 30 different categories, mostly occasion-based to choose from – including Vegan Friendly, Fire up the BBQ, Treat Yourself, New to the Market, Heavy Duty. They also include separate awards for supermarket, independent wine merchant and online retailer of the year.
The awards’ website has also had an upgrade to make it clearer how the competition works, with details on the judging process, as well as the combined wine and spirits categories. It also features its own YouTube channel where you can watch highlights of previous year’s awards as well as what it means to different brand owners and wine producers that have won awards.
Here’s the main highlights from the 2020 awards that really captures the fun, laid back and very different way of handing out awards for a drinks competition – in a comedy club in Manchester without a bowtie or ball gown in sight.
Competition dates for your diary
Cost of entry: £80 per wine/spirit.
Submissions open (wines and spirits): July 31 2020.
Submissions close: October 31 2020.
Judging: Mid November 2020.
Finalists announced: End November 2020.
Awards: February 8 2021.