Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition 2020 goes remote

The organizers behind the 2020 Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition have announced that the competition will go ahead. But almost nothing like what was originally planned — given the situation with coronavirus, the judging session for Western-style spirits will be remote.

Unlike last year, which had a motley crew of judges conduct tasting across two days in Ebisu, this year only 37 judges instead will be mailed a box full of booze. They are then tasked with conducting blind tasting sessions in their own homes. Given the reduced judge pool, each judge will be tasting an whopping 50-60 spirits. That’s no small task. Sometimes you just have to take one for the team.

TWSC 2020 was originally scheduled for March 9-11, but due to coronavirus concerns, the judging session was pushed back to May 20-21. Given Tokyo and Japan is still in a state of emergency, this latest move to 100% remote seems like the safest choice at the moment.

While the judging itself will be remote, the categories for Western spirits remain the same. In the Japanese whisky category, that means all of the bottles should actually be Japanese whisky.

This year was also supposed to be the first year featuring shochu. The TWSC committee has not yet announced whether or not they will be taking the same approach with shochu, so stay tuned.

Although I unfortunately won’t be able to provide an event report with these changes, I’m glad to see that TWSC 2020 will indeed go ahead somehow.

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