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In lieu of the WSWA 2021 Convention & Exposition, WSWA will be holding a Brand Battle Tournament - a can’t miss event for craft, startup and small production wine and spirits brands. This annual highly-attended, Shark Tank style event is typically held during the WSWA Convention.


The Brand Battle Tournament is a creative and engaging solution for wholesalers and suppliers to connect in 2021 and keep up with the industry trends.  This event will showcase rising brands with unique stories, packaging and flavor profiles in an engaging digital environment for all industry tiers to see.  Panels of wholesaler judges will provide valuable, thought-provoking insight and feedback on the various brands competing in the tournament.


Whether you are interested in competing or viewing the events, all will see hot emerging trends and products and walk away with greater knowledge on the industry .


This year, Brand Battle has been expanded into a tournament-style competition, with 8 virtual events, divided by categories, taking place on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. EST this summer! An ultimate Brand Battle Championship between all category winners will be held this fall to determine a 2021 Brand Battle Champion. 

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Tournament Information
  • 8 separate competitions, divided by category 

  • 5-6 competitors per category

  • 5-6 wholesaler judges per category

  • Virtual competitions to take place on Tuesdays at 1 pm EST, Summer 2021

  • 1 final best in tournament Competition, The Brand Battle Championship, Fall 2021

  • Category Winner and Brand Battle Champion Awards and Prizes 

  • All chosen competitors receive benefits for 2022 Convention & Exposition

  • Entry fees, per category entered, are $500 for Associate Members; $650 for Non-Members. All entry fees are non-refundable.

  • Click here for Brand Battle Tournament application


For more information regarding the Brand Battle Tournament, contact Kari Langerman, VP, Meetings & Conventions at




Vodka / Gin


June 8 at 1:00 pm EDT


Tequila / Mezcal / Cachaça


June 15 at 1:00 pm EDT


Ready-to-Drink / Hard Seltzer


June 22 at 1:00 pm EDT




June 29 at 1:00 pm EDT




July 13 at 1:00 pm EDT


Low-Alc / No-Alc / Mixer


July 27 at 1:00 pm EDT


Whiskey / Whisky / Bourbon / Scotch


August 3 at 1:00 pm EDT


Cordial / Liqueur / After-Dinner Drink


August 10 at 1:00 pm EDT




September 14 at 1:00 pm EDT





Key Dates

February 10 – April 30, 2021: 

  • Brand Battle Competition Applications Accepted

  • Brand Battle Competition Product Videos must be submitted

  • Wholesaler Judge Volunteer Applications Accepted


April 30, 2021: Application Deadline for the following categories

  • Vodka/Gin

  • Tequila / Mezcal / Cachaça

  • Ready-to-Drink / Hard Seltzer

  • Rum


May 21, 2021: Application Deadline for the following categories

  • Wines

  • Low-Alc / No-Alc / Mixer

  • Whiskey / Whisky / Bourbon / Scotch

  • Cordial / Liqueur / After-Dinner Drink


May 21, 2021: Chosen competitors and judges announced for categories to be held in JUNE


June 4, 2021: Deadline for all competitors to have sent product to their specific judges (NOTE: If selected as a competitor, you will receive detailed shipping instructions.)


June 8 – August 10, 2021: Weekly Category Competitions to take place, Tuesdays at 1 pm EST. (NOTE: The weeks of July 4 & 18 there will be no competitions)


September 14, 2021: Brand Battle Championship

SevenFifty brings innovative technology and data insights to the beverage alcohol industry with next-generation solutions that power the three-tier supply chain. The company’s people-first approach to technology enables distributors, producers, importers, and buyers with the tools they need to connect with each other online—and do business in a modern world.


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Get Involved

Applications for 2021 have closed, please register to watch and stay tuned for details about the 2022 Battle! Are you a new and/or emerging brand with limited distribution? Do you want the opportunity to pitch your story and product to a panel of industry experts and gain exposure to hundreds of industry enthusiasts?


Criteria to enter:

  • Any wine, spirit, low-alc/no-alc, or hard seltzer brand new-to-market or emerging in the U.S. may enter.
  • Product must have been introduced in the U.S. in 2019 OR is not widely distributed in the United States.
  • Company must have a TTB license, and the product must have a  Certification/Exemption of Label/Bottle Approval (COLA) for products containing alcohol. This eligibility requirement is not applicable to non-alcoholic products.
  • All product entries must be listed on a completed registration form, the entry fee(s) must be paid in full, and a 2-3 minute video submission must be received by April 30, 2021. Failure to submit any of these items properly may result in disqualification.
  • All entries submitted accurately and on time, will be reviewed and considered for the competition.
  • Presenter must be 21 years old or older.
  • Entry fees, per category entered, are $500 for Associate Members; $650 for Non-Members. All entry fees are non-refundable.


Benefits to participating:

  • Raise your brand’s profile, prestige, and credibility with industry decision-makers and influencers.
  • Opportunity, if selected as a competitor, to showcase your product to top wholesaler decision-makers from across the country and receive valuable feedback.
  • All entrants are featured in the Brand Battle Tournament Directory, whether or not selected as a competitor.
  • Competitors are promoted in advance of and throughout the tournament. All competitors also receive digital images to promote their participation in this tournament.
  • Establish confidence that your product has what it takes to excel in a dynamic marketplace.
  • Learn how to improve your marketing, product and pitch, whether or not selected to compete.
  • Gain insider insight into what makes brands successful.
  • We work with our media partners to highlight the competitors and winners.
  • Winners receive benefits in 2021, as well as at the WSWA Convention in 2022.


Selection Criteria: The following details the criteria the Selection Committee will evaluate when reviewing all applicants and determining competitors in each category.


Selection Committee will do the following for each entrant:

  • Review the entry form and product description. Assess if the story or product is unique, new, trendy, and/or classic.
  • Watch the entry video to determine if the presentation is dynamic and the story and/or product is compelling.
  • Selection Committee will choose 5-6 competitors per category based on information provided in the entry form and video.
  • All entrants will be notified, whether or not they are chosen to move forward as a contestant.
    • If an entrant is not selected as a contestant, the entrant will receive a feedback form from the Selection Committee with guidance on how to improve the pitch, and/or product.
    • Entrants selected to compete during the virtual event will receive an  email detailing how to send samples of their product to the judges for their competition.



Criteria to be a judge:

  • Must work for a WSWA wholesaler member in good standing
  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • Must be able to receive samples at your wholesaler warehouse in advance of the competition
  • Must have an expert understanding of the specific category you are interested in judging. Ability to articulate specific characteristics that make brands successful and insight into new products that will have a strong chance at succeeding in the marketplace.
  • Must be willing to spend up to 60 minutes on a run-through preparation webinar and up to 90 minutes the day of the tournament on Zoom
  • Consent to the tournament being recorded for viewing at a later time
  • Industry designations are a plus, but not required


Benefits to sponsoring:

  • This is a powerful opportunity for an established brand to reconnect and/or be rediscovered by industry experts, influencers and enthusiasts
  • Be an industry leader in championing up-and-coming brands
  • Company logo and contact information on Brand Battle Tournament webpage, in social media, included in marketing emails, and on slides at the end of each tournament
  • Company listing in the Brand Battle Tournament Directory




For more information, contact:

Nicole Anderson, Manager, Sales and Business Development
(202) 243-7510 |




As a winner of a category or the overall tournament, you will receive many benefits in addition to the bragging rights that your product was “Best in Category” or “Brand Battle Champion”! Being a winner will give the industry confidence that your brand is a rising star positioned for success!


Each Best in Category Winner receives:

  • Complimentary 2022 WSWA Convention Taste of the Industry Table ($650 value)
  • $500 discount off a 2022 WSWA Convention Exhibit Booth with priority placement opportunity
  • Interviews with select media
  • Best in Category digital award file for use in marketing collateral
  • Promotion on WSWA website, in email marketing, and on social media
  • Automatically entered into the final Brand Battle Championship Event


Brand Battle Champion receives:

  • The same awards as each category winner, PLUS the addition of 1 (one) complimentary 10”x10” Exhibit Booth at the 2022 WSWA Convention & Exposition ($3200 value) in lieu of a $500 discount
  • 2021 Brand Battle Champion Award, mailed to the winner
  • 2021 Brand Battle Champion digital award file for use in marketing collateral
  • $1000 cash award
  • Additional exposure to industry experts!
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Brand Battle Hall of Fame

2019 Winner
Seaside Grown
2019 Winner
Boukman Rhum
2018 Winner
Gray Whale Gin
2017 Winner
Bedlam Vodka


Brand Battle Questions or Concerns? Contact the following WSWA Staff Members:


General Inquiries:

Kari Langerman 

VP, Meetings & Conventions 

(202) 243-7516 

Sponsor Inquiries:

Nicole Anderson  

Manager, Sales & Business Development 

(202) 243-7510 

Media Inquiries:

Michael Bilello 

SVP, Marketing & Communications 

(813) 732-0180 

Application Inquiries:

Kristi Hepner 

Coordinator, Meetings & Conventions 

(202) 243-7508 

Application Inquiries:

Lisa Koenig 

Consultant, Meetings & Conventions 

(202) 371-9786  


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Cancellation Press Release
Brand Battle Entry Video Tips
Brand Battle Questions to Prep For
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Frequently Asked Questions
Supplier Application
Judge Application
Sponsorship Form