Spirits Selection has announced a 239% increase in the number of medal sticker orders in 2018 over the previous year. The increase shows that the competition is positioning itself as a genuine international benchmark. Here are some pointers as to why. 

“Medals have a positive effect on consumers. They play a meaningful part of a marketing strategy and sales development. They denote a genuine marketing drive”, says Emmanuel Becheau, director of the Martiniquan rum distillery JM. The Bernard Hayot group, owner of the JM, Clément, Admiral Rodney, Chairman’s Reserve and Arcane rum brands, has decided to focus on medals from the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles.

“Displaying a medal has had a positive impact on sales – an increase of between 10 and 15%. It makes the public aware of the product’s quality and recognition,” comments Jean Pierre Trouillet from Distilleries et Domaines de Provence, the producer of Bardouin Pastis. “The medal is unanimously recognised in the Benelux market. We carried out marketing activities there in 2017 using our gold medal and we will do the same in 2019 because Bardouin Pastis was once again honoured with a Grand Gold medal in 2018. Medals also iron out sales variations in rainy and cold years for a product that is very sensitive to weather hazards”, he adds.

Sonie Le Denmat, from Alambic SA – Groupe Lurton in Aquitaine, suggests the medal be displayed on Sorgin while leaving the choice ultimately up to importers. “The medal is requested by our Japanese importer, but also by our English distributor. It is a differentiator in the UK, where the market for gin is very dynamic.  We chose the Spirits Selection medal because the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is a long-standing and renowned competition”, she comments.

Marie Logori, from Tsililis SA in Greece, notes that a medal from this renowned competition influences sales: “Consumers more readily choose our products when they display the Bruxelles medal”.

Choosing a spirit from the countless products lining supermarket shelves is a real conundrum. Consumers who have little knowledge of spirits are often at a loss, and therefore more willing to select a product sporting a medal.  As for true enthusiasts, they definitely pay attention to accolades and are more likely to choose a spirit with a medal from a prestigious competition such as the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles than a spirit with no awards. This is one of the findings of the survey we conducted among producers who use medal stickers.

The West Indies surge ahead

In 2018, the main countries/regions that ordered medal stickers and purchased reproduction rights were: Martinique, Guadeloupe, France, Mexico, China, Bulgaria, the Reunion Island and Greece. France and its overseas departments as well as China have been at the top of the ranking for several years.

Martinique and Guadeloupe ordered 9 times more stickers and reproduction rights than in 2017.

 A unique model

Connoisseurs are more familiar with brands and the industry. Not only do they know that a medal is synonymous with higher quality, they can also tell the difference between medals from different competitions.

The increase in the number of orders for medal stickers and reproduction rights is also likely due to the positive reputation of Spirits Selection. The Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is the only competition that checks winning spirits after the event by comparing a selection of products with anonymously purchased samples. 

The competition’s judging process is based on the model developed by OIV and the International Oenologists’ Federation, which allows medals to be awarded to up to 30% of entries. “The winning spirits are truly the best samples selected at the competition because there are no entry prizes”, says Robin Robinson, founder of Robin Robinson LLC, a company specialising in the development and promotion of small spirits brands in New York City. “Many competitions should be based on the sample evaluation methodology”, he adds.

The 2019 Spirits Selection will take place from August 23 to 25 in Lvliang, China. The closing date for registration is 22 June 2019.