IWSC announces shortlist for 2023 Spirits Distributor Trophy

IWSC news

Thu 23 Feb 2023

Each year the IWSC recognises individual brands, awarding gold, silver and bronze medals to spirits at its annual Spirits Awards. Looking beyond the tastings, the IWSC also recognises the creativity of the companies bringing these drinks to the customer. The businesses that import or distribute these bottles are distinguished by our Business Awards.

Our judging panel comprised of the IWSC’s Industry Champion, Richard Seale, regular IWSC judges Joel Harrison, Ivan Dixon and David T Smith and from the IWSC, Sam Cooklin-Smith. Eddie Ludlow and Shimaoka Koji joined us from award sponsor Karuizawa Distillers.

This award was created to celebrate distributors that are striving to help distillers and brands penetrate the market in innovative ways. 

The shortlist for the 2023 Spirits Distributor Trophy is:

Emporia Brands

Emporia impressed our judges with their educational engagement focus. The judging panel appreciated the way Emporia was looking at the more niche areas of the industry, as well as the bread and butter. A quality portfolio with a strong focus on their Calvados, as well as a selection of really niche brands.

Liana Collection

Our judges highlighted Liana’s charitable focus as a great point of difference. Founded just 5 years ago, our judges were impressed by how quickly Liana Collection has developed an impressive portfolio of exciting, premium brands. Driving pioneering charity work, last year Liana donated £10k to trade charities through its Cheers initiative. Building strong trade advocacy, our judges were very pleased to see a self-made, founder-led business achieving such success.

Spirit Cartel

With impressive plans for international expansion, Spirit Cartel was another popular entrant with our judging panel. Showcasing strong sustainability ideas and initiatives and always on the look out for the next big thing, the judges enjoyed the innovative partnership with Thirsty Earth and The Drinks Trust. Spirit Cartel is clearly a dynamic business showcasing some great innovations, with a good reputation within the trade supported by a quality portfolio of spirits.

Proof Drinks

Another distributor with a great range and a solid trade reputation, our judges found Proof’s application to be proactive and forwarding thinking. Highlighting their staff and customer training priorities and the company’s strong emphasis on events activations, and partnerships our judges noted Proof’s sustainability credentials were admirable and made them a worthy addition to our 2023 Spirits Distributor shortlist.


The winner for the IWSC’s 2023 Spirits Distributor Trophy will be announced at 13.00 on Thursday 2 March.