Many brands will tell you how many awards they have won, and they will all say the same thing that the awards are prestigious and they are honoured to receive them, and a lot of consumers think that they just say that because it’s what you should say.
But, having done exceptionally well in the whisky awards this year, and over the last three years since we started entering awards and we have really seen the benefit of entering whiskies into awards and the resulting joy that brings us, our amazing customers, and new customers who find out about us because of award wins.
Specifically, I’m talking about the Double Gold at the World Spirits Competition in San Francisco this year, which is the highest award any whisky can receive in the world, and we were awarded one for our fabulous Benrinnes PX cask finish. On the back of receiving such a prestigious whisky award, the entire release of 333 bottles which was supposed to last for five months, ended up selling out within the best part of three weeks instead, with 2/3 of those bottles being bought and shipped over the three DAYS following the award win announcement. After selling out the IWSC also awarded this same bottle 94/100, one of the higher awards they hand out too.
This alone brought inbound inquiries from Japan, Germany, China and Guatemala for export deals – something we could never have imagined before.
Our Islay Cask we released the same day as the Benrinnes this year received Silver in the London Spirits Competition and Silver at the International Spirits Challenge which blew us away, and our customer feedback has been immense for this release as well.
For clarity we have now won 26 international awards in three years of entering awards, at time of posting, and we don’t enter every whisky into the awards, as a small family business it is not fiscally feasible for us to do so which makes winning anything even more important and humbling for us… we have not been doing this for 200 years like most of the big brands, we have spent time learning, understanding, asking every question possible to producers, distillers and blenders since GreatDrams.com was founded to become experts in our own right.
With this in mind, winning these awards especially has fundamentally changed our company, our approach to whisky, and our plan for release is going forward as from the two silvers on Islay and Double Gold on Benrinnes, we now have the means and the plans to do an annual release of our Islay and indeed our Benrinnes PX cask finish starting from May in 2022, and this will be the very first time we have actively planned to repeat any releases, and it’s because of recognition and because of the love of the product we feel and hear from our awesome customers and trade partners.
So, whilst we see people on Facebook and across social and in the media ask about the relevance of awards and what they mean quite often, I hope this goes some way to explaining what it means to us and for consumers it is clear that awards help them to shortcut their decision making process at shelf based on flavour and quality, which can only help.