San Francisco World Spirits Competition tightens Japanese Whisky entry requirements

In a significant victory for Japanese whisky purists, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) now requires entries with the Japanese Whisky Class Code to be fermented, distilled, aged and bottled in Japan.

Those of you that follow this site’s FB or IG account may remember this post:


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It’s not a good look when a bottle that isn’t Japanese whisky wins top prize in the Japanese whisky category. Luckily, quickly after I posted that, SFWSC was made aware of it. With the new JSLMA standards for Japanese whisky coming into effect on April 1, 2021, the organizers indicated that they would adhere to the new standards for the 2022 competition.

And the 2022 competition is now open for entries.

Class Code 233 (PDF link), Japanese whisky, now has the following note attached to it:

*Must be made from malted barley, use local water and be fermented, distilled, aged and bottled in Japan, while also being aged in wooden casks for three years and bottled at a minimum 40% abv

I alluded to this change in my recent interview with Forbes, and I’m glad to see that it is now public! Thanks to Stephen Lyman of the Japan Distilled Podcast and others who helped push it over the line!

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