The BTI Laboratory in the Age of Coronavirus

We strive to uphold and maintain the most professional tasting environment in the beverage industry. In doing so, we’ve taken extra steps to ensure the safety of our esteemed professional panelists. Read on to learn about how we’ve adapted our laboratory protocols to do our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19. 


Timed Panelist Arrivals
We maintain physical distance by asking that our panelists arrive to our facility at staggered times, minimizing close contact in elevators and in our foyer. Additionally, we ask that our panelists take their temperatures prior to heading to a tasting in order to ensure that they are simultaneously taking care of themselves and the colleagues they share the room with. 


Plexiglass Panelist Dividers
BTI’s innovative VP of Operations designed and installed the new Plexiglass dividers that enable panelists to safely taste together in the same room. Panelists are able to remove their masks once situated in their tasting stations and the group is then able to sniff, taste, spit, and communicate; preserving BTI’s convivial and stimulating product discovery experience. 


Surface Contact Minimization
BTI has temporarily halted the use of lab coats in the sensory lab. Notebooks, pens, and other objects non-essential to the process have also been removed. Each panelist station also includes replenishable water and personal spittoons in order to prevent any unnecessary contact.


Modified Sample Presentation and Product Reveal
Panelists receive a cart bearing the entirety of the day’s samples to be tasted. Samples are covered in order to retain their integrity, and panelists  are then guided in a categorical tasting by BTI’s Associate Director and Panel Moderator. Post-tasting, products are revealed, and panelists are able to individually examine products and re-visit samples of interest.


Tasting Room Sanitation
Immediately following each tasting, all surfaces in the Sensory Lab are thoroughly cleaned, including the sanitization of doorknobs, chairs, and computers. This particular process is not a new practice for BTI, but its continuation is more important than ever. 

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"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

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