5th Annual

Sunset International Spirits Competition



SUNSET Magazine is the leading media brand of the Western lifestyle. Its International Spirits Competition makes its winning spirits part of the most influential spirit program in the country. With the number of subscribers, demographic of the Sunset Magazine reader base and number of social media followers this competition is a must-enter for all spirit producers desiring exposure to a perfect audience.

The esteemed judging panels represent large volume buyers, influential media, successful distillers and other professionals from the spirits category.

Winning producers will be featured in a Spring release of a Spirits Special non-print, digital edition with supporting microsite. Promotions for Spirits Award Special Issue will be placed in sunset.com, Sunset eNewsletters and Sunset social sites. The edition will be promoted and available for 12 months or until the 2024 Spirit Awards winners are announced.

The Sunset Magazine International Spirits Competition will take place on October 17th and 18th in Santa Rosa, CA and the deadline for submission is October 10th, 2023. To enter your product, please fill in our online entry form.   

*Note: All shipments must be received by 5pm on October 11th, 2023.

Best of the Best, Best of Class, Best Brandy Pendray’s Distillery XO Brandy (GG, 98 pts.) Judges “caramel and cardamom”; “balanced”; “simple finish”
Best of the Best 2023 - Pendray’s Distillery XO Brandy (GG, 98 pts.)

“We couldn’t be more impressed by the diversity and caliber of entrants this year,” says Sunset Editor-in-Chief Hugh Garvey. “A hearty cheers to the winners. We can’t wait to celebrate them in our pages and share their delicious accomplishments with our audience.” - 2023

Hugh Garvey, Editor-in-Chief

Reasons to Enter

The Spirits Market size is expected to grow from USD 584.97 billion in 2023 to USD 779.50 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 5.91% during the forecast period (2023-2028).

  • Sunset is the definitive lifestyle brand of the modern American West and the single most trusted resource for a national audience aspiring to live the western lifestyle.
  • The Sunset audience:
    • Sunset readers depend on the magazine to expand their wine and spirits knowledge.
    • 7 out of 10 savor food & drink content
    • 64% drink spirits at least once a week (and 7.7% drink spirits 6–7 days a week)
    • 77% drink cocktails at least once a week (and 9.3% drink cocktails 6–7 days a week)
    • $229,619 Average HHI
    • $959,263 Average HH net worth
  • Sunset has a circulation of 230K in print and digital with 1.2MM+ site visits per month. Average page views are 1.57MM.
  • Sunset’s social audience is 1.1M
    • Facebook: 536,000
    • Pinterest: 298,000
    • Instagram: 242,000
    • Twitter: 70,300
    • YouTube: 8,900
  • U.S drinkers have increasingly identified liquor as their preferred alcoholic beverage over wine and beer, from 20% in 2016 to 31% in 2022 (just 4 points behind beer, which has always been the most popular)
  • Sunset readers appreciate Sunset‘s commitment to the wine and spirits industry and count on the magazine to expand their wine and spirits knowledge.
    • 4MM+ Total Cross-Platform Reach
    • 2.5% - 3.5% Industry-Leading Social Engagement
    • 103% YOY - Total Social Audience Growth
    • 120% YOY - @SunsetMag Instagram Community Growth
    • 80% of Sunset readers make decisions on brands and product choices based on ads seen in Sunset.
    • Vodka sales up 4.9 percent or $341 million to $7.3 billion
    • Tequila/Mezcal up 30.1 percent or $1.2 billion to $5.2 billion
    • American Whiskey up 6.7 percent or $288 million to $4.6 billion
    • Brandy & Cognac up 13.1 percent or $403 million to $3.5 billion
    • Cordials up 15.2 percent or $376 million to $2.9 billion
    • Premixed cocktails, including spirits-based RTDs up 42.3 percent or $489 million to $1.6 billion
    • Tequila/Mezcal up 30.1 percent or $1.2 billion to $5.2 billion
    • Irish Whiskey up 16.3 percent or $185 million to $1.3 billion
    • Cordials up 15.2 percent or $376 million to $2.9 billion
    • Single Malt Scotch up 14.4 percent or $130 million to $1 billion

*It is expected that tequila will become the most valuable subcategory in the U.S. spirits market in 2023, overtaking vodka and whiskey*

Sources: 2018 MRI Doublebase. 2019 Sunset Digital Survey, 2022 & 2023 Sunset Media Kit, 2022 VinePair article, Mordor Intelligence, Gallup, Statista, and Park Street

Entry Deadline and Product Shipments Due

Entry Deadline: October 10th, 2023

Product Shipments Due: October 11th, 2023

*Note: Product must be received by 5pm



October 17th & 18th, 2023


Frequently Asked Questions

The registration fee is $345 per on-line entry / $195 Mixers and Pre-Mixed Cocktails.


Official Rules

2023 Judges

Chris Sawyer

Sommelier to the Stars,  Radio and TV Personality

Dan Berger

Award-Winning Wine Columnist

Debra Del Fiorentino

Sommelier, CSW and CWP

Jason Jorgensen

Co-Founder and Head Distiller - Alley 6

Jason Schneider

General Manager - Bottle Barn. Chief Spirit Buyer

Jennifer Kelly

Sommelier, Consultant, and Spirit Expert

Larry VanAalst

Sommelier, Radio Host, The Sonoma Report, CRN Radio

Laura Sanfilippo

Sommelier & Restaurant Owner

Tara Heffernon

Sommelier & Restaurant Owner

Vicki Tomesello

Sommelier & Consultant

Ziggy Eschliman

Radio and TV Host, Blogger, The Contessa of Cocktails

Bottoms Up!

Reach a perfect audience.

Wow an esteemed judging panel.

It's your time to shine!