Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Pay to Play. Lies & Inconsistencies: The curious case against San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Uno Mas Tequila and Magave Tequila

First, let me explain why I wrote this piece. In no way is this post an attack on any individual person (ie. judges for competitions), business or entity. Think of it as a glimpse into the various practices of spirits competitions and brand management.

A few years back I bought a bottle of Uno Mas Anejo tequila at a private liquor store in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to take to a birthday party. I thought it was just OK besides it ended up in some margaritas anyways. But what bothered me was the importer of this particular offering advertised it as a "Double Gold" medal winner at the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The research into this particular matter wasn't that difficult as the San Francisco World Spirits Competition archives its results on its website.

Simply put, the archived results contradicted things. Curious. Thinking there was some type of mistake, I emailed both the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the brand Uno Mas tequila. The email response(s) were somewhat laughable. The phone conversations with SFWSC's representative and the tequila brand spokesperson are another story entirely.

The explanation given by the tequila brand spokesperson doesn't make any sense whatsoever if in fact the Uno Mas Anejo is really the same recipe & aged agave disillate as the Mujer Bonita. I guess anything is possible. The funny this is that three different tequila brands (Mujer Bonita, Magave, Uno Mas) were submitted by the same company/brand owner into the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition with varying different results.

In fact it does appear that the brand(s) and a few of its importers still advertise on various social media the prominent awards that have been "won" at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Even-though the brand owner has clearly "cherry-picked" from the results of its stable of brands - active or defunct - submitted into the competition.

Lorenz Agave Spirits

This sort of willful (somewhat fraudulent) behavior usually doesn't bother me but what does is that some consumers out there just assume or regard a competition like the San Francisco World Spirits Competition as wholly reputable. The fact that something like 90% of the brands submitted into the San Francisco World Spirits Competition are awarded a medal is a real eye-opener. Especially when you factor in the $475 USD entry fee per spirit, $100 USD entry fee per packaging design, one-time licensing fee $200 USD per award level, and whatever fee for a roll of SFWSC award stickers.

Not surprisingly both parties have since changed their tune on this matter. The San Francisco World Spirits Competition expressed concern over such misuse of its medals so I guess we can expect some type of due diligence in such future matters involving their awards. The brand owner of Mujer Bonita, Magave and Uno Mas now says it was all just a clerical mistake. Make no mistake there are unasked questions, inconsistencies and downright lies that should make you question the narrative of a competition like the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. 

No comments: