SUBMIT YOUR BEST BOURBON FOR OURDOUBLE-BLIND COMPETITIONAT THE COMMONWEALTH'S PREMIER BOURBON-TASTING AWARDS FESTIVAL!Competition Co-Chairs Mike Adams Executive Bourbon Steward (c): 248-495-4130 M_adamsjr@yahoo.com Tony Menechella Certified Specialist of Spirits/Spirits Judge (c): 502-229-3763 tmspiritconsult@gmail.com There is no charge to participate in this professionally judged competition. All entries must meet the official Bourbon industry criteria. Entry forms and [...]




Competition Co-Chairs

Mike Adams

Executive Bourbon Steward
(c): 248-495-4130

Tony Menechella

Certified Specialist of Spirits/Spirits Judge
(c): 502-229-3763

There is no charge to participate in this professionally judged competition.
All entries must meet the official Bourbon industry criteria.

Entry forms and product MUST be received NO LATER than July 31st

Bourbon on the Banks
Official Judging Criteria

Pre-Judging Process

Before the judging begins, all bourbons will be received by the Frankfort Bourbon Society and stored in a secured area. A Society member will open the boxes, ensure the integrity and seal of the bottle and that the accompanying entry form is complete, capture all pertinent information into a spreadsheet, and sort the bourbons by category, and then by proof.

Judging Process

This double blind competition will be based on a 100-point scale, and we will judge bourbons to determine if it is medal-worthy. Judges do not receive any information on the distiller, ensuring that each bourbon is judged fairly, equally, without bias, and on its own merit. While tasting, judges evaluate each product on an individual basis—not compared to other entries in the flight. During this stage, judges determine which entries are worthy of a Gold, Silver, or Bronze medal. Each spirit’s average score serves as a starting point for the panel’s discussion for what medal, if any, should be awarded. If all the judges in a panel recommend a gold medal, and the panel believes the spirit to be exemplary, they may choose to award the spirit a double gold medal as an outstanding spirit. Each judging table will have a Captain who will be responsible for mediating should a panel be unable to come to agreement with a particular bourbon. It is also the Captain’s  responsibility to ensure that all scores are within a 5-point range of each other, to the best of his/her ability. Should a Captain be unable to resolve an issue, they will defer to the Lead Judge, Tony Menechella.

Governor’s Cup

All Kentucky bourbons that receive a Gold Medal will then be judged again by a select panel of judges, and the bourbon with the highest scoring value shall be awarded the Governor’s Cup.

So what does the medal really mean?

Double Gold: Awarded to those rare entries that receive a Gold medal rating by all members of the judging panel; these are among the finest products in the world.

Gold: Exceptional bourbons that score 90+ points, and are near the pinnacle of achievement.

Silver: Outstanding bourbons that score between 80 – 89 points, and show refinement, finesse, and complexity.

Bronze: Well-crafted bourbons that score between 70 – 79 points, are commercially sound, and free from significant flaws.

Official Bourbon Entry Form

Minimum 750 ml product submission



Kenny Andreozzi got his start in the wine and spirits industry in Louisville, KY at Old Town Wine & Spirits and later managed Old Town’s sister store, The Wine Market. He went on to work for a small distributor/importer of fine wine, Vanguard Wines, where he earned Salesman of the Year in 2012. In 2013 he left Vanguard to partner as owner/general manager at Commonwealth Tap, a wine and whiskey bar located in the Norton Commons Neighborhood. Commonwealth Tap has won numerous awards since its inception, including Best Bar and Best Bourbon List from LEO Weekly and Louisville Magazine. Kenny is a Certified Specialist of Wine (2013) and Certified Sommelier (2017).

Carla Carlton, “The Bourbon Babe,” is an award-winning bourbon journalist, author and speaker. She is managing editor of Bourbon+ magazine and covers the bourbon industry on her website, TheBourbonBabe.com. Her first book, “Barrel Strength Bourbon: The Explosive Growth of America’s Whiskey,” was published by Clerisy Press in June 2017, along with companion eBooks “Still Life: The Resurgence of Craft Bourbon” and “Spirited Perfection: Building Your Bourbon Bar.” She was an invited participant in “Kentucky Bourbon Tales,” an oral history project produced by the Nunn Center for Oral History and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.

Carla is an Executive Bourbon Steward and member of the Stave & Thief Society and a charter member and former board member of Bourbon Women, an international networking organization for women who are passionate about exploring bourbon and its culture. She regularly conducts both corporate and private bourbon tastings.

Tom Fischer is a top Bourbon expert and the founder of BourbonBlog.com, the #1 online resource for Bourbon. He is a leading authority, presenter and writer in the spirits industry and can be contacted on this link (full contact info below). Tom is available for media interviews and has been featured by CNN, Fox News National, NPR, USA Today, New York Times, BBC and more. He hosts whiskey tastings across the globe, makes appearances as an expert speaker at festivals and events, and is happy to answer your questions. He is also the creator of the first of its kind whiskey sommelier program.

Since creating BourbonBlog.com in 2005, Tom has led production teams to produce hundreds of videos chronicling the rise of Bourbon and whiskey. These videos and unique content annually draw millions of views. Tom also judges spirits and cocktail competitions such as the Denver International Spirits Competition, American Craft Distillers Association Judging of Craft Spirits, Breckenridge Craft Spirits Competition, and many others. In Kentucky, Tom has been recognized by the Governor of the Commonwealth with the honor of Kentucky Colonel.

In addition to Bourbon, Tom’s coverage on BourbonBlog.com is regarded as some of the most influential in the spirits industry with a highly socially engaged audience on libations. Tom contributes to Liquor.com, ManTripping.com, Chilled Magazine, The Bourbon Review, and other global media outlets. Tom Fischer also regularly interviews celebrities like Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, and Betsey Johnson asking them, “What do you like to drink?” while uniting the globe around a glass of whiskey.

Tim Knittel is a Bourbon industry professional with over a decade of experience inside and outside distilleries. Formerly the Culinary Center General Manager and VIP hospitality manager at the Woodford Reserve Distillery, he started the Distilled Living company which provides Bourbon education for consumers, enthusiasts and industry professionals plus event management, distillery relations and consulting services. He holds the titles of Executive Bourbon Steward through the Stave & Thief Society and Adjunct Professor of Tourism, Event Management and Bourbon Studies at Midway University. He is additionally the Bourbon Steward-in-Residence at The Kentucky Castle, sits on the Tasting Table at Distiller.com and writes for numerous Bourbon and tourism related publications. For more information on Tim http://distilled-living.com/

  • Certified Bourbon Steward
  • Certified Specialist of Spirits
  • Expected Certified Spirit Educator, 2020
  • Certified Specialist of Wine
  • Certified Sommelier

Alicia began her beverage studies in Washington State, focusing on wine from the Pacific Northwest.  While in Washington, she was a bar manager and consultant, helping turn beer and wine restaurants into full cocktail programs.  After receiving her Certification with the Court of Master Sommeliers and Certification of Wine Specialist with the Society of Wine Educators, Alicia moved back to the Midwest and continued with the study of spirits. A trip to Kentucky last fall confirmed Alicia’s love of bourbon and the bourbon trail.  She has since then earned her Certified Specialist of Spirits and Certified Bourbon Stewardship.  Currently, she is a bar manager in St. Paul, MN where she curates the wine and cocktail list, and continues in her pursuits toward the Certified Spirits Educator.


Andrea D. Meriwether is a Louisville Kentucky native and avid Bourbon Enthusiast. She enjoys creating digital content as a Bourbon Lifestyle Curator and entrepreneur. She considers Bourbon as the centric agent making America great again and creating opportunities for us all to learn and explore the native spirit together.

Ariel E. Neal is leading today’s cocktail culture one pour at a time. The Chicago native first fell in love with the hospitality industry while serving tasty libations as a bartender. Now this social entrepreneur and community advocate is making her mark from behind the bar and beyond. As the CEO of beverage events company Leira Knows Cocktails & Events (www.instagram.com/leiraknowscocktails), Neal designs cocktail, wine and spirits-driven social and corporate events. With a laser-focus on quality, expertise and professionalism, Neal and her team wow guests with cocktail demonstrations and a curated lineup of signature libations.

In response to the challenges she and other women of color colleagues experienced, Neal co-founded Causing A Stir (www.causingastir.org) in 2016. The 1,600-member nonprofit organization supports marginalized members of the hospitality industry through mentorship, networking, scholarships and education. As the director of Causing A Stir, Neal is expanding the reach of the organization globally and helping to push the hospitality industry forward through mindful conversations around inclusion one cocktail at a time. Neal’s motto: “Connecting people with cocktails,” stems from her mission to make wine, spirits and cocktail education accessible and approachable. A lifelong South Sider, Neal believes in the power of exposure to foster economic growth and development. Neal is doing her part to shift the narrative of Chicago’s South Side by hosting industry events in locations that encourage individuals to explore overlooked neighborhoods within the city’s thriving food and beverage scene. Additionally, Neal educates her community on cocktail basics with the goal of motivating home mixologists and individuals considering a career in the beverage industry. To get Neal talking for hours, just ask her about her two passions — the hospitality industry and barrel-aged spirits. You can find her “nerding out” with other hospitality professionals in various events across Chicago and nationwide. Neal has been featured in Ebony Magazine and Food and Wine.

Vice- President of Central KY Spirit Society
Owner and Founder of Women and Whiskey
Certified Executive Bourbon Steward
Best Whiskey Cocktail Bar 2016

As a native of NC transferred to Baton Rouge Louisiana, Brandalyn found her passion for whiskey as a young woman learning the tales and stories of moonshiners and distilling from her grandfather. Following her passion Lock and Key Whiskey Bar was created in Baton Rouge, LA and named Baton Rouge’s Best Whiskey Cocktail Bar in 2016. As the owner she began her secondary company Women and Whiskey to break the stigma that whiskey is just a gentleman’s drink. This company was established to bring the joys and education of whiskey to women specific through events, tastings, pairings, and tours in New Orleans and surrounding areas. After traveling to host many whiskey events for women throughout the US she was hooked on growing her knowledge and further her whiskey education.  

Due to her desire to grow and expand Brandalyn moved to Louisville KY so that she can be in the central heart of the whiskey world. Her palate has had the pleasure of tasting over 1250 world whiskies and counting as she travels to continue judging and educating people on spirits. Her passion for culinary and spirit pairing keeps her ties heavy in New Orleans but she is thrilled to call KY her new home. As an Executive Bourbon Steward and the Board VP of Central Kentucky Spirits Society she is qualified to guide people to pick barrels and guide them through marketing and establishing product placement for grassroots distilleries.

Executive Sommelier of Spirits
Master of Wine Candidate and Executive Sommelier of Wine
Certified Spirits and Wine Instructor
Certified Competition Level Judge of Spirits and Wine

Larry started TopShelf Liquor Consulting “TopShelf” in 2013 with the intent to consult for importers, distributors, retail liquor stores and restaurants on spirit and wine information. The kind of information TopShelf can provide encompasses evaluations, recommendations, training, and event planning. In addition, TopShelf continues to develop spirits and wine graphics applications to increase the knowledge of the buyer to make informed choices on what to purchase. Specifically, he has developed connoisseur and professional level evaluation forms for all of the spirit types, fortified wine, and wine that will be available to the retail industry and to the end user markets.


  • Denver International Spirits Competition (DISC), 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 – Chief Judge, 2017 – Chief Judge, 2018 – Chief Judge
  • Denver International Wine Competition (DIWC), 2013, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • North American Bourbon & Whiskey Competition(NAW&BC), 2015, 2016 – Chief Judge, 2018 – Chief Judge
  • Denver International Rose Wine Competition, 2015, 2018
  • Denver International Beer Competition (DIBC), 2016
  • Denver International Fortified Wine Competition, 2016
  • Denver International Rose and Port Competition, 2017

Matt has been distilling for 7 years, 4 of those years he worked as head distiller at 2 mountain distilleries. He has been fortunate to take home a few medals for the whiskey and gin that he produced. Matt is currently working on starting a distillery production-focused consulting business of his own and helping judge spirits competitions with the Wine Country Network. Recently, he accepted a Table Captain position within that company at the Denver International Spirits Competition. Matt also plans to focus most on helping smaller craft distilleries perfect their production methods and raise the quality of craft spirits here in the USA. 

Michael Veach was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2006.  He’s written and contributed to five books and is the foremost authority on bourbon history.  In addition to this he is the former Filson Historical Society Bourbon Historian. Michael has provided bourbon history education in many different forms over the years. He owns his own bourbon consulting company, Bourbon Veach LLC.