Brand Battle Frequently Asked Questions
What is Brand Battle?

Brand Battle is our highly successful, live brand competition – WSWA’s version of Shark Tank. Selected brand contestants pitch our panel of industry experts and influencers — and receive valuable feedback — live on our competition stage. Past Brand Battle winners include Gray Whale Gin, Bedlam Vodka, and most recently, Boukman Rhum and Seaside Grown.

When is the WSWA Brand Battle Tournament?

Brand Battle traditionally occurs during the annual WSWA Convention & Exposition, but this year, due to the pandemic, we are mixing things up! WSWA developed the Brand Battle Tournament, which will feature weekly competitions during the summer on “Tournament Tuesdays” – leading to the Brand Battle Championship in the fall. Specific competitions, dates and times are as follows:



June 8 1:00 pm Vodka/Gin


June 15 1:00 pm Tequila/Mezcal/Cachaca


June 22 1:00 pm Ready-to-Drink/Hard Seltzer


June 29 1:00 pm Rum


July 13 1:00 pm Wines


July 27 1:00 pm Low-Al/No-Al/Mixer


August 3 1:00 pm Whiskey/Whisky/Bourbon/Scotch


August 10 1:00 pm Cordial/Liqueur/After-Dinner Drink


Why a Tournament?

Because we all need a new, vibrant and exciting 2021! Each “Tournament Tuesday” will feature a product category-specific brand battle. The winners from each battle will compete in the fall Brand Battle Championship. This high-stakes, thrilling virtual competition will give suppliers, wholesalers, judges and attendees unique opportunities to learn alongside new and emerging, craft, startup and small production brands who are the stars of the event. Do you have a great brand with a compelling story and a strong business and marketing plan? ENTER NOW

How do I participate and enter?
  • Have a new and emerging, craft, start-up or small-production brand? ENTER HERE
  • Would you like to be a wholesaler judge? ENTER HERE
  • Interested in sponsoring? READ MORE
What kind of entry video should I submit?

Check out our best practices for Brand Battle Tournament entry videos HERE. You can also view a selection of past Brand Battle entry videos HERE.

How much does it cost to enter?

Entry fees, per category entered, are $500 for Associate Members; $650 for Non-Members.

Is there a paper entry form?

Please use our electronic entry forms available HERE. If you are having any issues or would like help completing your form, please contact Kristi Hepner at

How do you pick judges?

The WSWA Brand Battle Tournament will have a panel of judges from a wide variety of wholesalers of varying sizes across the country. Want to be a judge? VOLUNTEER HERE

What if the 2022 WSWA Convention & Exposition is cancelled?

We are looking forward to an in-person, 2022 WSWA Convention & Exposition at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV - April 11-14, 2022. Stay tuned for more information!

Will 2022 WSWA Convention & Exposition feature Brand Battle?

Yes! The 2022 WSWA Convention & Exposition will feature an in-person Brand Battle competition. Stay tuned for more information.

How many bottles do I need to send?

We ask that each category contender be able to supply 6-7 bottles of their product to sample, depending on the number of judges in their category. More details regarding product shipping will be coming soon.

How do you award medals?

The eight (8) category winners and the one (1) overall 2021 Brand Battle Champion will be determined by our panel of wholesaler judges. We will be communicating with each medal winner to deliver all awards and certifications.

Does every category winner get a medal?

Yes! Each category winner will receive an electronic/digital medal along with the following: 


  • All applicants will receive a profile in the Tournament directory, whether or not selected as a contender. 


Each 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 & podcasts.
  • Category Winner digital award file for use by brand in their marketing.
  • Promotion on WSWA website, in eblasts, & on social media.
  • Automatically entered into the Brand Battle Championship.


Brand Battle Champion receives:

  • All the same awards as the category winner, PLUS the addition of one (1) complimentary 10’ x 10’ Exhibit Booth at the 2022 WSWA Convention & Exposition ($3200 value) in lieu of a $500 discount.
  • Brand Battle Champion Award, mailed to winner.
  • Brand Battle Champion digital award file for use by brand in marketing.
  • $1000 cash award.
  • Additional exposure to industry experts!
Can I see videos of past participants?

Yes! Please access our Hall of Fame of past Brand Battle contestants and winners HERE.

What is the deadline for entry?

Entries for the following categories must be received by April 30, 2021.

  • Vodka/Gin
  • Tequila / Mezcal / Cachaça 
  • Ready-to-Drink / Hard Seltzer 
  • Rum


Entries for the following categories must be received by May 21, 2021.

  • Wine
  • Low-Alcohol / No-Alcohol / Mixer 
  • Whiskey / Whisky / Bourbon / Scotch 
  • Cordial / Liqueur / After-Dinner Drink
How are the results announced?
  • Each selected category contender will be contacted by WSWA no later than 5/17/2021.
  • Each category winner will be chosen live during individual competitions.
  • The Brand Battle Champion will also be announced live during the final competition. 
If I'm selected for the tournament, what type of questions will I be asked?

CLICK HERE for example questions that all entrants should be ready to answer either in their pitch, on their video or during the Q&A time with judges. Please note these are just some suggested questions that may be asked.

If I submit an application and am not chosen as a contestant, will you let me know?

Yes, all applicants will receive timely communication regarding their submission and the selection committee's decisions.

My Wine &/or Spirit is not available in the US, can I still participate?

We are sorry, but this tournament is only for brands that are currently distributed and/or imported in the United States. Companies must have the appropriate TTB license, and products must have a Certificate/Exemption of Label/Bottle Approval (COLA).

How do I ship my product?

Shipping instructions will be provided to each competitor once each competition participant has been chosen. Each competition will have specific instructions. If chosen, you will need to be able to ship 6-7 packages of your product to the panel of wholesaler judges for your competition. Stay tuned for more information!

How do I pay my entry fee?

Once you have completed an application, you will receive an invoice for payment as well as a link for you to upload your video. Payments may be made via credit card or check. For more questions, contact:

Kristi Hepner, Coordinator, Meetings and Conventions | 202-243-7508

Are there any hidden fees?

There are no hidden fees. The only additional fee is for the shipment of your product.

Are there any distribution requirements?

Do not worry if you are not currently distributed in the United States. As long as your company/importer has the appropriate TTB license and your product has a Certification/Exemption of Label/Bottle Approval (COLA), you can enter the competition.

How many competitions are there?

There are (8) category competitions and (1) overall Brand Battle Championship. For more information, Click HERE.

How many competitors will there be in each competition?

There will be 5-6 competitors in each of the (8) category competitions. Once the category winners are chosen, there will then be (8) competitors in the Brand Battle Championship event.

How are competitors chosen?

A selection committee of industry experts, wholesaler leaders and a panel of WSWA personnel will choose the contestants. The selection committee will not include anyone who will be a judge during the competitions.

What if I have more than one product to enter?

You may enter as many products as you wish! Each product entered will have a separate entry fee.

How do I upload my video?

Once you have submitted an application and paid your entry fee, you will receive a link via email for you to upload your video.

There is not a category for my product, but I still want to enter. Is this possible?

Yes! Please fill out an application and select “Other” in the category selection area. Competitor Applications can be found HERE.

How can I sponsor the Brand Battle Tournament?

For more information regarding sponsorship, look HERE or contact:

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

What if I am chosen to participate but have to cancel?

If you are chosen as a competitor and have to cancel your participation, you may do so, however, the application fee is non-refundable. You must email your cancellation notification to Kari Langerman, VP, Meetings & Conventions at

I still have questions. Who can help me?

Please contact any of the following to assist you:



Kari Langerman, SVP, Meetings and Conventions




Kristi Hepner, Coordinator, Meetings and Conventions



Lisa Koenig, Consultant, Meetings and Conventions




Nicole Anderson, Manager, Sales and Business Development