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

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

Entries will be judged to the internationally recognised 100-point scoring system.  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.


2021 Head Judge

Sebastian (Seb) Costello, Melbourne VIC

Australian spirits ambassador and former owner of Melbourne bar Bad Frankie, a multi-award winning cocktail bar in Fitzroy that serves exclusively Australian made spirits. 

Seb has 20 years' experience in the drinks industry and is a recognised authority on Australian cocktails and spirits.

Seb has judged at the ADSA since its inception in 2015, including as Panel Chair 2017 through 2019, and is returning to the role of Head Judge in 2021.