This year, 1750 samples from 55 different countries have been entered for the Spirits Selection. Host country China takes first place in terms of entries, with baijiu representing more than 30% of submissions in the 2019 competition.

Overview of the main trends

The top four countries in terms of number of entries (in descending order) are China, France, Italy and Brazil. China takes first place and with an increase of 125%, the 2019 host country has confirmed its dominance with baijiu. France (including overseas territories) has consolidated its second place in terms of number of participants in the Spirits Selection, with rum, cognac, armagnac and liqueurs representing the main categories. In third and fourth place are Italy (mainly thanks to grappa and liqueurs), and Brazil (with cachaça).

Baijiu, the Asian titan

Chinese baijiu is by far the dominant category of spirits in the world, and the most popular in China. One third of the world’s alcohol consumption is accounted for by this typically Chinese product. The Spirits Selection is a reference for the baijiu industry and has become the largest international competition at this level. This year, more than 600 baijiu entries were received, an increase of 125% compared to last year. China recognises 12 sub-categories of baijiu, of which the four main ones (light, strong, sauce and rice aroma) account for 75% of the registered baijiu samples. In total, eight of the 12 official categories are represented in the Spirits Selection, with the organisation of the competition in China undoubtedly encouraging producers to enter.

For jury members the competition is another opportunity to explore the aromatic world of baijiu. The image of this Chinese alcohol has potential for development, with European consumers yet to full grasp the importance of this industry. In comparison, imported spirits represent a tiny fraction of the overall market.

Rum maintains its strong position

The second category in terms of entry numbers, rum (and cachaça) is on the rise with 350 samples, an increase of nearly 10% compared to last year. Every year, 536,000 tonnes of rum (the equivalent of 17 litres per second) are consumed worldwide. Rum consumption has increased exponentially in recent years. This success is explained by the multiplicity of rums on offer. A multifaceted alcohol, rum is very well suited to cocktails – a category that is also booming – with sunshine, white sand and a certain exotism all conjured up by this spirit, while producers are daring to think outside the box and being more innovative.

The 20th edition of the Spirits Selection competition will be held in Lvliang (China) from August 22nd to 25th, 2019. Results will be published online on September 6th.

For further information: Charles Piron /