Beverage Company Case Studies, Wine, Craft Beer - Beverage Testing Institute



BTI was tasked to discover how a newly reformulated Jim Beam Black Bourbon compares to its key competition and conduct an independent evaluation of Jim Beam Black and its competitive set; one that could potentially support a relaunch ad campaign.

BTI conducted research using a trade-only professional panel that compared Jim Beam Black to a selection of leading North American whiskey brands in the US market. Using NAD-vetted methodology, BTI was able to quantify the brands’ quality and attributes. From these rankings, potential claims of superiority could be credibly made and sustained in a cross-category context.

BTI’s research and analysis corroborated Beam’s formulation decisions and its sensory data supported a powerful superiority claim used in a highly successful ad campaign that ran for ten years in the US.


Guide a new marketing campaign for a global beverage producer’s vodka line. Gauge consumer acceptance and preferences for the brand. Discover and understand how the product compared to other established brands and the suitability of various cocktail recipes for each vodka flavor in the line.

BTI conducted trade and consumer panels to analyze the client’s vodka and its key competitors. We discovered the product’s strengths in terms of taste, texture, consumption preferences, and buying patterns that could translate into marketing strategy.

As a result of our extensive testing and research, we were able to provide the client with a clear and successful path for their brand positioning; one that differed from their initial concept, but was ultimately well-received by the trade and public. BTI’s tested insights and strategic guidance saved our client substantial time and money by avoiding misdirected marketing efforts and allowing them to focus on proven quality and value.


Provide a confidential analysis of the merits and detractors of an innovative new bourbon prior to national release.

BTI captured objective data on Maker’s 46’s quality, complexity, and tannin structure from our panel of buyers and influencers.

Using sensory and focus group data, BTI was able to confidentially corroborate quality assertions and pricing decisions, giving our client confidence that their product would be well received by the market.


Create a new-yet-consistent gin formula that would accommodate changing production logistics, coincide with overall re-branding and refresh consumer enjoyment of the well-known flavor profile for a long-established, internationally marketed gin brand.

BTI approached this aggressive challenge with a three-step process for standard recipe development. Step One used BTI’s proprietary methodology to yield scores and tastings notes for all the submitted recipe variations. Step Two used a comparative method to determine which sample was similar in attributes to the standard recipe. Step Three used the comparative results to rank the recipes in order of preference.

BTI data demonstrated which newly modified formula was superior to the brand’s current formula. It also created a flavor blueprint for what the brand aspired to become. The client’s BTI-led formula adjustments crafted the best possible gin for its brand’s loyal consumers and new fans ensuring a consistent product with consistent consumer interest.



Create the optimal varietal ratio, alcohol content and sugar level for a “fighting varietal” blend for a nationally marketed wine. BTI’s client was using an existing blend of California Chardonnay sourced from multiple Central Coast vineyards and challenged BTI to fine tune and revamp their style to create a wine of increased market share potential.

BTI took on this challenge using qualitative and quantitative methods. We made specific blending and structural attribute level recommendations so that our client could produce consistently high flavor quality vintage after vintage.

Leveraging relationships that BTI has cultivated over years with California’s best wineries and our large database of sensory data, a final blend was created that increased sales with an ambitious drive for national market share. The more consumer-driven flavor profile helped elevate the brand and company. Several years after BTI’s flavor development was completed and rounds of profitability later, a joint partnership succeeded in helping to elevate this California Chardonnay brand onto the international stage.


Energize sales in a big-box retail environment.

Santo Moscato had just snagged a coveted Costco placement, but was looking to move more product, faster. BTI was tasked with evaluating the product’s objective commercial value and publishing a compelling review. The wine’s excellent quality earned a powerful BTI accolade. Armed with our third-party endorsement of quality and objective review data, Santo made smart marketing decisions at point-of-sale, leveraging a 91-point, BTI Gold Medal win into a case-moving proposition. Santo used their award logo on their packaging, clearly broadcasting their great flavor and style to Costco’s audience.

Since leveraging their BTI award into a POSM tool in April 2018, Santo experienced an over 60% case-sale increase over 2017 and 2019 showed a 75% increase over 2017.


After three decades of running their own competition, the Garden State Winegrowers Association needed an independent organization to elevate the group’s competition, amplify the reach of New Jersey wines and emblazon its reputation onto the national stage.

After auditing New Jersey’s competition methodology and results, it was clear to BTI that an out-of-state, independently-conducted New Jersey Wine review would provide the neutral playing field the organization needed. BTI’s unbiased and detailed evaluation of New Jersey’s wines was able to provide a platform for the region’s wines to be understood in the context of the other world-class wines in BTI’s review portfolio.

The results of BTI’s New Jersey Wines review were heralded by numerous local publications and caught the attention of the New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy. For the first time, the Governor’s mansion was opened to celebrate the quality and success of these wines with the citizens of New Jersey. History was made by the First Lady Tammy Murphy, who proclaimed that from that day on, only New Jersey wines would be served in the Governor’s mansion. That decision alone provided a substantial boost for the sales of New Jersey wines. The director of the Garden State Winegrowers Association stated at the 2019 awards ceremony, “Our partnership with Beverage Testing Institute has taken this competition to the next level.”


Develop a global grocery store chain’s private label wine selection to match or beat the flavor of category benchmarks, fly off the shelves, and attract media attention.

Over the course of several years, BTI audited and parallel-tracked the tendering process for the chain’s line of private label wines. We performed critical, independent category analysis, benchmark testing, and producer screening to identify the best tasting, highest typicity liquid for each tender. We analyzed each producer’s liquids, packaging, and price-to-quality ratios and gave our selection recommendations to the chain’s buyers so that they could be confident that their private label wines would offer the best flavor for the price and have the most in-demand style. We also supported their quality messaging for the final selections with our award logos that were used in newspaper ads and in-store POSM.

Our client achieved their aggressive sales goals for their private label wines. More importantly, their reputation as a purveyor of great value wines skyrocketed based on the response from consumers and media to the quality of the wines that BTI helped select and market.



Stake a claim in the pilsner category territory and re-energize consumer perception of Pilsner Urquell using scientifically-sound, gimmick-free marketing tactics.

BTI identified 9 key import lager competitors and tested them against Pilsner Urquell on a blind panel of expert beer judges. Using NAD-vetted, ASTM-complaint methodology, BTI concluded by a significant margin that Pilsner Urquell had the best flavor of the group. These results and historical BTI rankings for the overall pilsner category demonstrated that Pilsner Urquell was a quality benchmark for the imported lager beer category.

Pilsner Urquell’s parent company, SABMiller, used BTI’s recommendations and results to promote Pilsner Urquell’s exceptional aroma, flavor and texture over comparative brands. A highly successful international media campaign was launched based on the licensed results from BTI’s taste tests. BTI’s development, support, and collaboration in the media launch tastings, interviews, and beer dinners across the country further strengthened brand positioning and increased market share.


Guide production of soon-to-launch craft ale recipes for a traditionally lager-based Canadian brewery.

Through leading sensory analysis and expert test design, BTI was able to determine that several beers suffered from dimethyl sulfide, inappropriate esters, or aged hop condition. BTI’s reporting developed marketable, flaw-free ale recipes for the traditional lager brewery.

Using BTI’s feedback and recommendations for hop and malt balance, specialty grains, and premium branding strategies, the brewery was able to gain meaningful market share in the aggressively growing Canadian craft beer market.

"The consistency and broad consumer reach of BTI ratings and reviews really solidified the quality message of our artisan brand and helped us build a well-distributed and highly regarded specialty portfolio of beers."
Laurent-Xavier Gilbert,
VP Development at La Brasserie Unibroue
"The BTI rankings have an effect on what restaurants put on their wine lists, and ultimately on what you might be drinking."
Joe Gray,
Editor, Chicago Tribune
"BTI is still the outstanding tasting organization, uniquely independent. Keep up the good work!"
Jan Wells,
VP of Marketing, Cannon Wines
"Beverage Testing Institute is a professional operation with a professional approach. I like that they are committed to truly blind tastings and that their reviews are comprehensive and informative. We highlight the reviews in our tasting room and post them on social media; the consumer response is very positive. "
Edwin Richards,
Winemaker/Owner, Adastra
“Our BTI awards have helped us with our US distribution. Sales have increased form 0 cases to 250 cases in just a couple of months. We opened two new accounts in Seattle and New York.”
Eduardo Aguirre Victoria,
Terre de Vignerons
“[BTI's] is well known as a main reference for connoisseurs, experts and followers of spirits.”
Otto Flores,
Ron Barcelo
"We have used (BTI) for the last 5 years and couldn’t be happier. They always have great customer service and support! Not only do they have detailed professional reviews and tasting notes, the addition of the metallic stickers and shelf-talkers help us capture customers, and drive bottle sales. The trophies, medals, and printed awards are displayed as center pieces in our tasting room. Their website is easy to navigate and has great product information."
Mike Huffman,
Whidbey Island Distillery
“Our winery has had BTI rate our wines for a number of years. We use the bottle stickers and shelf talkers for both education and to enhance our marketing. We have had distributors request bottle stickers, and during wine pourings, we use the shelf talkers as a customer take away. We appreciate the information written by BTI since we find it to be concise, descriptive, informational, and a well rounded review of our wines.“
Janet Soderberg,
Alamira Wines, Vistaflores Estate
When we found out that our 20 year Pappy Van Winkle had been entered in BTI's 1997 World Spirits Championships and received their 99-point rating, that’s when we started getting calls from distributors around the country looking for our whiskey.

That was a benchmark moment for our business. Every time we received a high rating from BTI over the years, interest increased for our brand.

We owe a lot to the Beverage Testing Institute for our success.
Julian P. Van Winkle, III,
President, Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery
BTI has been our go-to partner for our alcohol awards program for years now, providing quality reviews of our wide selection of wines, beers and hard seltzers. The unique quarterly submission process allows our team to highlight new, trending and seasonal offerings and the staff at BTI is always responsive, collaborative and supportive to help us reach our goals.
Carrie Reitz,
Corporate Buying US, ALDI Inc.
The trust that consumers, major retailers, distributors and suppliers have for BTI makes their reviews and recommendations an invaluable complement and a huge asset to the success of Atlas’ bespoke label brands. I enthusiastically recommend their tools and services to anyone in the control or private label beverage program spaces.
Jim Cosma,
Atlas Imports

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