Brand Battle

After another hugely successful Brand Battle Tournament and Championship, WSWA proudly announces the 2025 Brand Battle. The tournament format will, once again, combine elements of virtual category competitions coupled with the exciting, dramatic, live, and on-stage Brand Battle Championship—taking place at Access LIVE, on February 4, 2025 in Denver, Colorado. This can’t miss event for new and emerging wine and spirits brands will bring together the best of the best in a highly attended, Shark Tank style format. 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.

The 2025 Brand Battle Tournament will kick-off with up to 8 virtual events, divided by categories, beginning December 9, 2024. The Brand Battle Championship, between all category winners, will be held live, on stage, at Access LIVE on February 4, 2025 in Denver, Colorado to crown the 2025 Brand Battle Champion.

Quintaliza 2024 BBT Champion
Mike Winters

"What a fun process! Any emerging brand out there needs to experience this. The amount of people you get to meet within the community of your spirit is worth more than you can imagine.” 

Mike Winters, Quintaliza Tequila

Harvey Williams

“Participation in the WSWA Brand Battle was a BIG DEAL for us!  We were thrilled at the opportunity to share our story and take center stage among such wonderful people and innovative brands. What an experience…. the exposure was unbelievable and the feedback so insightful."

Harvey Williams, Delta Dirt Distillery

Stephanie Jackson

“We were thrilled to participate in the 2024 Brand Battle! The event provided us with fantastic exposure to new distributors and the opportunity to connect with other competitors and learn their brand stories. In the months following we have been able to expand our distribution footprint with wonderful partners. Brand Battle was a significant milestone in the NightOwl journey.”

Stephanie Jackson, Drink NightOwl

Category Competitions

There will be 6-8 category competitions to compete in based on the various products submitted for entry. These virtual tournaments will be scheduled over three (3) days, December 9-11, 2024.  If you are selected to compete in the virtual, category competitions, you must indicate how you will participate at Access LIVE should you win your category. 

BBT Contender

Brand Battle Championship

The Brand Battle Championship will bring all category winners to the Main Stage at Access LIVE to compete, live in Denver, Colorado on February 4, 2025 to crown the 2025 Brand Battle Champion! To participate in the Brand Battle Championship, you need to win your virtual category competition and commit to one of the following participation levels at Access LIVE:

Brand Battle Package: Includes one (1) 10 x 5 booth in the Brand Battle Contenders neighborhood, (1) complimentary pass to Access LIVE, (1) complimentary Taste table at the TASTE event. Cost $2500, value at $2,850. 

Full Exhibitor: Includes one (1) 10 x 10 booth, (2) complimentary passes to Access LIVE, (1) complimentary Taste table at the TASTE event. Cost $3300 value at $4,250 

Brand Battle audience and stage

Important Dates

November 1, 2024: Brand Battle Applications Due

November 11, 2024: Contenders and Judges to be announced!

November 15, 2024: Deadline for all contenders to have confirmed their place in the competition & indicate how they are participating at Access LIVE.

December 5, 2024: Contenders product samples to have arrived to Judges location. (NOTE: If selected as a contender, you will receive detailed shipping instructions). 

December 11-13, 2024: Virtual Tournaments to take place.

  • 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 recently introduced in the U.S. in 2022 or later or have limited distribution (less than 5 states). 
  • All new product launches since 2022 are welcome to submit an entry. Widely distributed products launched since 2022 are welcome to submit an entry. Widely distributed products launched before 2022 are not eligible.
  • Company must have a TTB license, and the product must have a Certification/Exemption of Label/Bottle Approval (COLA).
  • All product entries must be listed on a completed registration form, and a 2-3 minute video submission must be received by dates noted in application. Failure to submit any of these items properly may result in disqualification.
  • All entrees submitted accurately and on time, will be reviewed and considered for the competition.
  • All selected contenders must exhibit at Access LIVE 2025 OR purchase a Brand Battle Contender package (options and pricing listed above) no later than November 15, 2024 to be officially entered into the tournament. This ensures all finalists can compliantly promote and sample their product at the Brand Battle Championship in Denver. 
  • Category winners must be present at Access LIVE for the final Championship round.
  • Presenter(s) must be 21 years old or older.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gain insider insight into what makes brands successful.
  • We work with our media partners to highlight the competitors and winners.
  • Winners receive benefits in 2025, as well as at Access LIVE in 2026.
  • Contenders all are invited to an exclusive reception at Access LIVE only for Brand Battle contenders, industry media, and wholesalers.

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

  • Review the entry form and product description.
  • Watch the entry video to determine if the presentation dynamic and the story and/or product compelling. 2-3 minute entry video can be anything from a highly produced asset to a simple selfie-style video recording of your brand story.
  • Selection Committee will choose 4-5 contenders per category based on information provided in the entry form and video.
  • 2025 Access LIVE exhibitors will receive priority consideration to enter the tournament.
  • All entrants will be notified, whether or not they are chosen to move forward as a contender.
    • Entrants selected to compete during the virtual event will receive detailed instructions on how to send samples of their product to the judges for their competition.

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 in the industry!

Each Best in Category Winner receives: 

  • Complimentary 2025 WSWA Access LIVE TASTE Table ($650 value, if purchased in advance a refund will be applied).
  • $500 discount off a 2026 WSWA Access LIVE HQ 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 to participate in the final Brand Battle Championship Event, live on stage at Access LIVE, February 4, 2025.

Brand Battle Champion receives: 

  • The same awards as each category winner, PLUS the addition of 1 (one) complimentary 10”x10” Exhibit Booth at the 2026 Access LIVE ($3,500 value) in lieu of a $500 discount.
  • Brand Battle Champion Award, presented on the Main Stage at Access LIVE 2025.
  • Brand Battle Champion digital award file for use in marketing collateral.
  • $1000 cash award.
  • Invitation to sit on the WSWA Access Craft advisory board.
  • Additional exposure to industry experts!

Criteria to be a judge:

  • Are you a Wholesaler interested in judging a Brand Battle Tournament, either virtually or live on state? Please email Lisa Koenig at
  • Must work for a WSWA wholesaler member in good standing or a retailer in the wine & spirits industry.
  • 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 60 minutes the day of the tournament on a virtual platform.
  • Consent to the tournament being recorded for viewing at a later time.
  • Industry designations are a plus, but not required.