Ultimate Spirits Challenge Introduces 2012 Judges

Fourteen of the world’s foremost distilled spirits authorities are descending upon New York’s Astor Center March 5-9 to rate the world’s finest gins, whiskeys, tequilas, rums, vodkas, brandies and liqueurs at Ultimate Beverage Challenge’s 2012 Ultimate Spirits Challenge. Led by Judging Chairmen F. Paul Pacult and Sean Ludford, this group of authors, spirits buyers, journalists, educators, bar owners and consultants will render unassailable results.
Says UBC Judging Chairman and founding member Paul Pacult, “Allow me to take my gloves off. Many of the supposed top spirits competitions are rife with judges that are, to be kind, out of their depth. Wine judges shouldn’t be evaluating reposado tequilas and single malt Scotch, period. This type of miscalculation on the part of competition organizers does a serious disservice to spirits producers who enter their products.”
“Ultimate Spirits Challenge judges for 2012 have been chosen for their consistent judging excellence over the last two years at both Ultimate Spirits Challenge and Ultimate Cocktail Challenge. Many are buyers who, together, purchase many thousands of cases of spirits each year. Consequently, if I happened to be a spirits producer or marketer, this is the elite group of genuine and acknowledged experts that I’d demand to evaluate my product. Could I use a USC Chairman’s Trophy or a healthy score to promote my spirit? Oh yeah.”
Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2012 Judges:

  • Chairman F. Paul Pacult - journalist, author, educator, author
  • Co-Chairman Sean Ludford - journalist, consultant
  • Jacques Bezuidenhout - consultant, bartender
  • Tad Carducci - bar owner, buyer, consultant
  • James Conley - buyer
  • Dale DeGroff - author, consultant, educator, journalist
  • Doug Frost, MS, MW - author, educator, journalist
  • Jim Meehan - bar owner, author, bartender, consultant, buyer
  • Steve Olson - consultant, bar owner, buyer, educator
  • Julie Reiner - bar owner, buyer
  • Jack Robertiello - journalist
  • Andy Seymour - consultant, bar owner, buyer, educator
  • Marcos Tello - bartender, buyer
  • David Wondrich - author, journalist, educator, consultant

Adds Sean Ludford, “USC’s back-of-house staff is more qualified to judge than most judges in other competitions. Ultimate Spirits Challenge is all about authority and integrity.”
The back-of-house staff is led by the incomparable Leo DeGroff along with Sean Kenyon, Dan Nicoleascu, Brent Lamberti and Steven Fette (all BAR 5-Day superstars) who in turn are supported by a group of the beverage industry’s brightest rising stars.


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