About the Competition

The purpose of the Drink Outside the Grape Competition is to allow “sibling beverages” to grape wine, i.e. fruit wine, mead, cider/perry and fruit brandy (eaux-de-vie), to be evaluated in their own classes, by broad-minded industry professionals who are not biased by grape wine models.

Also, this competition excludes standard (non-blended) grape wines, to avoid comparisons to these other categories, and provides a level playing field for each category to compete within itself (in specialized classes), so that each category, and class, gets a fair evaluation.

The explosion of the regional craft beverage industry across the U.S. and the world shows the popularity of these categories; mead and cider are currently the fastest-growing categories of (low) alcoholic beverages. Drink Outside the Grape provides the means for them to be evaluated in a fair way.

The Drink Outside the Grape competition is chaired by Richard Leahy, who ran the International Eastern Wine Competition for 10 years, now runs the Eastern Winery Exposition conference program, and the Best of New England Wine Competition, is an authority on wines of Eastern North America. He has the expertise and the understanding to give your fine fruit wines, ciders, meads and fruit brandies the respect they deserve in a dedicated category wine competition judged by open-minded industry professionals.