Brand Battle


After the hugely successful 2023 Brand Battle tournament and championship, WSWA is proud to announce the 2024 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, January 30, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 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 2024 Brand Battle Tournament will kick off with 8 virtual events, divided by categories, beginning January 9, 2024! The ultimate Brand Battle Championship between all category winners will be held live, on stage, at Access LIVE on January 30, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada to crown the 2024 Brand Battle Champion.

Brand Battle Champs 2023
Brand Battle Stage


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 an audience of industry viewers? We would love to showcase your brand! Apply now and mark your calendars with the important dates below.

Watch the Battles

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

  • Vodka / Gin –  11:00 -12:00 pm EST
  • Tequila / Mezcal / Cachaca –  1:00 – 2:00 pm EST
  • Whiskey / Whisky / Bourbon / Scotch – 3:00 – 4:00 pm EST


Wednesday, January 10, 2024

  • RTD / Hard Seltzer – 11:00 -12:00 pm EST
  • Wine – 1:00 – 2:00 pm EST 
  • Rum – 3:00 4:00 pm EST


Thursday, January 11, 2024

  • Low Alcohol / No Alcohol – 11:00 -12:00 pm EST
  • Modifiers (Liqueurs / Mixers / Cordials) 1:00 – 2:00 pm EST 


Tuesday, January 30, 2024 4:00 pm PST

  • Brand Battle Championship –  On the Access LIVE Main Stage
Brand Battle contender on stage pitching brand

Important Dates

December 1, 2023: Applications due for all categories:

  • Vodka / Gin
  • Tequila / Mezcal / Cachaca
  • Whiskey / Whisky / Bourbon / Scotch
  • Modifiers (Liqueurs / Mixers / Cordials)
  • RTD / Hard Seltzer
  • Wine
  • Rum
  • Low Alcohol / No Alcohol

December 10, 2023: Contenders and Judges to be announced!

December 20, 2023: Deadline for all contenders to have confirmed their place in the competition and sent product to their specific judges (NOTE: If selected as a contender, you will receive detailed shipping instructions).

Brand Battle Judges

Quick Details

  • 8 separate virtual competitions, divided by category.
  • 4-5 competitors per category.
  • 5-6 wholesaler judges per category.
  • Virtual competitions to take place on the following dates:
    • January 9: Tuesday 
      • Vodka Gin: 11:00 AM -12:00 PM EST 
      • Tequila Mezcal: 1:00 PM-2:00 PM EST 
      • Whiskey Bourbon 3:00 PM-4:00 PM EST 
    • January 10-Wednesday 
      • RTD-Hard Seltzers 11:00 AM-12:00 PM EST 
      • Wine 1:00 PM-2:00 PM EST 
      • Rum 3:00 PM-4:00 PM EST 
    • January 11-Thursday 
      • Low Alcohol / No Alcohol: 11:00 AM-12:00 PM EST 
      • Modifiers 1:00 PM-2:00 PM EST 
  • 1 final best in tournament competition, The Brand Battle Championship will take place live and on-stage at Access LIVE on Tuesday, January 30, 2024.
  • Prizes will be awarded to the 2024 Brand Battle Champion AND Category Winners.
  • All selected contenders receive benefits for 2025 Convention & Exposition.
  • There is no fee to apply, however, selected contenders must exhibit at Access LIVE 2024 or purchase a Brand Battle Contender package (see below).
Brand Battle audience and stage
  • 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 2021 or later or have limited distribution (less than 5 states). 
  • All new product launches since 2021 are welcome to submit an entry. Widely distributed products launched since 2021 are welcome to submit an entry. Widely distributed products launched before 2021 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 2024 OR purchase a Brand Battle Contender package (includes one registration to Access LIVE and a TASTE table) – this ensures all finalists can compliantly promote and sample their product at the Brand Battle Championship in Las Vegas. Contenders must commit to one of these options no later than December 20, 2023 to be officially entered into the tournament.
  • 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 2024, as well as at Access LIVE in 2025.

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.
  • 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.
  • 2024 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 2024 WSWA Access LIVE TASTE Table ($650 value, if purchased in advance a refund will be applied)
  • $500 discount off a 2025 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, Tuesday, January 30, 2024.


Brand Battle Champion receives: 

  • The same awards as each category winner, PLUS the addition of 1 (one) complimentary 10”x10” Exhibit Booth at the 2025 Access LIVE ($3,500 value) in lieu of a $500 discount.
  • Brand Battle Champion Award, presented on the Main Stage at Access LIVE 2024.
  • 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.