Judges for the Australian Distilled Spirits Competition are selected from across Australia and are engaged for their industry knowledge and expertise.

The Australian Distilled Spirits Awards judges are sourced from a broad base and include distillers, spirits writers, bar owners, and retailers. They are selected for their product knowledge and expertise in the industry.

Entries will be allocated a Tasting Order Number, separate from the Catalogue (Exhibit) Number, to ensure the anonymity of the Exhibit and to retain the integrity of the judging process. Additionally, Exhibits will be judged ‘blind’. Exhibits are judged according to class and by percentage alcohol (% ABV); lowest to highest. Exhibits are critically and quantitatively evaluated for their commercial excellence, quality attributes and trueness to type. Exhibits are not judged or ranked again each other but are assessed on their own merits.

Attribute scores for each Exhibit will be awarded, checked, and entered by the judging panel. Classes will be judged to Bronze, Silver and Gold Medal. The process for determining the trophy winner of each category requires an additional level of scrutiny. The Gold Medal spirits from each category will be individually and independently reassessed and ranked using the Borda Count method – only Gold Medal awarded Exhibits are eligible for Trophies.

2024 Head Judge

Shaun Byrne, Melbourne VIC

Director of two of Australia’s most awarded beverage brands, Maidenii Vermouth and Marionette Liqueurs, Shaun is a well-known and respected figure in the Australian spirits industry and brings to the role more than 20 years of experience in hospitality coupled with his extensive judging experience.

Shaun has been involved in the Awards since its inception in 2015 and has watched it grow and evolve to become the most important spirits competition in Australia.