Trade buyers who have daily interactions with consumers are the best people to rank products. They are constantly checking in with the market to ensure that their buying decisions line up with what the consumer wants and what will sell, based upon quality and price. Their livelihoods depend on it–a wrong buying decision means that products gather dust on shelves and have negative impacts on their bottom lines.

The Press and other non-buyers/professional tasters do not have access to this valuable information.  Our experienced trade buyers will sample a product and one of three things may happen.  The first is “I personally like it…but it won’t sell”.  The second is “I personally don’t like it…but it will sell”.  The third is “I like it and it will sell”. This feedback is invaluable to other buyers, who have come to rely on our awards to make their own buying decisions.

All of the spirits in our competition are judged within their appropriate price range because our judges are deciding whether or not each product will sell in their local market. Price is a very big factor in determining value for the consumer, and it is information that they would consider when making a real buying decision. We wanted our judging to be as close to the real-world buying process as possible, so we provide our judges with the actual retail price of each product in order to gain the most accurate insights from them.

Our trade-only judges award medals based upon the following criteria:

  • Bronze Medal– Our judges will sell it, distribute it and or import it
  • Silver Medal– Our judges really like it and will sell it, distribute it and or import it.
  • Gold Medal– Our judges love it and will sell it, distribute it and or import it.
  • Double Gold– All of the judges on the panel award it a Gold Medal

For more details, check out our Judging Process

After we review all the medal winners we will poll the judges for their opinion on the possibility of awarding other awards. If no one qualifies, the medal will not be awarded. If a product merits it, we sometimes award:

“Distillery of the Year”

“Distributor of the Year”

“Importer of the Year”

No. If no spirit qualifies for a medal then no medal is awarded in that category.

We believe our spirits competition offers several things to a winning distillery:

  1. This is a trade-only judging panel made up of professionals who are well respected by their peers in the industry.
  2. You are placing your spirit in front of a trade buyer who makes buying decisions!
  3. We are holding it in one of the biggest beverage markets in the world…Melbourne. The media will be invited to report on the competition and attend the Press/Trade Event showcasing the winners. Winning distilleries are invited to attend and showcase their winning spirits at no additional charge.
  4. We work with our media sponsors to distribute the results to the trade and to consumers. All the winners will be listed here on our website.
  5. The MISC gives distilleries who are not currently imported or distributed in Australia the opportunity to be discovered.
  6. We do not charge winning distilleries the use of our medals in their marketing materials.
  7. You are only charged once when you submit your product. There are no additional charges or hidden fees.

Because we believe in full transparency, the judges immediately receive the results of the spirits they judge. We then request that the judges refrain from sharing who the winners are with people outside of the judging group until the formal announcements are made.

We will contact the winning producers shortly after the competition ends to allow them the opportunity to participate in the Press/Trade Event where the winners will be announced to be held at a later date.

There is no additional charge to participate in the Winners Circle at the trade event!

The majority of our judges come from the Pacific Region. These buyers are sommeliers, retail store buyers, beverage directors in restaurants and hotels, distributors and importers.  We try to make our judging panels as diverse as possible, because we believe each expert brings a different perspective to the judging process on what the consumer wants.

We do not give our judges any monetary funds beyond paying their travel expenses, food and lodging during the competition. The judges enjoy spending time with each other and learning about what is selling and not selling in each other countries.

We take great pride in saying NO! There are no charges for the use of winning medal images. There are no charges to participate in our Press/Trade Event announcing the winners. There are no surprises here.

There are distilleries who have expressed strong interest about the use of medal image stickers. We are in discussion with a sticker company to allow the winners to order the medal images directly from them at no compensation to the MISC.

This is a great opportunity to present your product to actual buyers if you plan to enter the Australian market, and especially the Melbourne market, which is one of the largest beverage buying regions in the world. 

We do not list all of the producers who participated. We will announce how many spirits were submitted, from how many countries, in how many categories and how many won medals. This is still a subjective process and we only announce the winning products.

The owners of the MISC have no ownership of any alcohol companies, distributors, liquor stores, bars or restaurants.

We receive no financial compensation from any liquor company outside of the submission fees for their brands. We do not accept any advertising dollars either.

We do at times accept free product from our medal winners for the private and consumer tastings we organize through our sister company All Spirits Events.  It is another way to help promote our medal winners and competition.

There are no customs duty on liquor less than 30% ABV when shipping to Hong Kong. 

We do accept wire transfer and there is a $15 banking fee attached to it. Please email us at for our banking information.

We encourage large liquor and spirits organizations as well as trade offices to contact us directly for any additional support or assistance they need to submit their spirits. We offer special rates for organizations and consortiums who participate in our programs. Please visit our Contact Page to find out how to reach out to us, or email us at

In the event that the judging is not held, a portion of the fees will be refunded, based on the amount paid minus a pro rata share of the expenses for establishing and maintaining entry files.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Competition shall not be liable for failure to perform caused by an act of God, fire, flood, wind, rain, storm, electrical failure, strike, labor dispute, riot, insurrection, war or other causes beyond its control.

Yes we do accept Non Alcohol Spirits. Please enter the spirit in its regular category and confirm the Alcohol/ABV level is 0%. The judges will then know it is a “Non Alcohol Spirit”

So if you have a Potato Vodka that is 0% ABV you will enter it under Potato Vodka and 0% ABV.

Yes we do accept Ready To Drink (RTD) and Mixers in the Melbourne International Spirits Competition. Please send 3x per sku/entry of your RTD and Mixers