Premium Awards included:

"Distiller of the Year"--Morrison Bowmore Distillers, Ltd.
"Best of Show, White"--Tanqueray Gin, No. Ten
"Best of Show, Brown"--Bowmore Single Malt Scotch, 17 Year Old

The First San Francisco World Spirits Competition, held this weekend at the Park Hyatt hotel, brought together 12 top judges and a huge field of fine spirits from around the world, in dozens of categories, adding up to the most comprehensive spirits judging ever held in the United States.

The experts gave three Premium Awards for "Best of the Best." Morrison Bowmore Distillers, Ltd., was named "Distiller of the Year" by the panel. This honor was give to Bowmore in honor of its winning three double gold medals and two gold medals out of five entries. "Best of Show" for white spirits was awarded to Tanqueray Gin, No. Ten, from the United Kingdom, priced at $26. "Best of Show" in the brown spirits category was presented to Bowmore Single Malt Scotch, 17 Years Old, from Islay, $70, which was also awarded best single malt.

The competition's director, Anthony Dias Blue, along with renowned spirits expert, Paul Pacult, director of judging, patterned this event after Blue's very successful and long-established San Francisco International Wine Competition.

There were 56 categories; single malt Scotch whisky and vodka had the most entries; rums and tequila followed. The winning brands in each category, in addition to the "Best Brown" and "Best White" awards, were: the Best Gin, Tanqueray No. 10; Best Single Malt Scotch, Bowmore 17 Years Old, Best Rum, Cruzan Dark/Gold Rum, Single Barrel Estate, St. Croix ($28); Best Cognac, Hennessy Cognac XO, France, ($150); Best other Brandy, Christian Drouin Coeur de Lion Calvados, 23 years old, ($150); Best Tequila, Herradura Anejo Tequila, 5 Years, Seleccion Suprema, Amatitan, Jalisco, Mexico ($250); Best Vodka, Pearl, Western Alberta, Canada ($25/Ltr); Best Blended Scotch, Johnnie Walker Blended Scotch Whisky, Blue Label, Scotland ($180) and Best Bourbon, Woodford Reserve Small Batch Bourbon, Distiller's Select, Kentucky ($25).

Blue noted, "All of the judges were quite astonished at the overall excellent quality of the entries and the amount of brands. The whole process proved beyond doubt that spirits have became a most important part of the good life and will continue to grow with even more and better products. I want to thank all the spirits people for entering their brands and special thanks to Paul Pacult, one of the world's most knowledgeable spirits experts, for all his help in making this event such an enormous success. It will be an annual event and we hope to build it every year with more and more entries."

In addition to Blue and Pacult, judges were: Stephen Beal, chief of operations, whiskyshop.com; Dale Degroff, President, Dale Degroff Company, New York; Janet Dyer, Sales Manager, Adventures in Wine, San Francisco; Michael Feil, General Manager and wine buyer, Lake Merced Golf & Country Club, San Francisco; Doug Frost, MS and MW, wine and spirits writer, Kansas City Star; Mendel Kohn, wine and spirits consultant, MOK Consulting, San Francisco; Ken McDonald, retailer and wine buyer, Friendly Spirits, San Francisco; Tim McDonald, Director of Trade Public Relations, Trinchero Family Estates, Napa; Steve Olson, educator and consultant, Libations, New York and Gary Regan, journalist and author, Ardent Spirits, New York.

Sponsors of the event were: Bon Appetit Magazine, The San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, Reidel Crystal, and Drinks.com.