Ultimate Beverage Challenge

Independent and Authoritative Evaluation of Wines and Spirits


ULTIMATE BEVERAGE CHALLENGE has set the new standard for how spirits and wines are evaluated through its procedural innovations in its two annual competitions: Ultimate Spirits Challenge and Ultimate Wine Challenge.

  • UBC has instituted the industry’s most uncompromising standards and fairest approach for evaluation by employing its multi-panel, multi-stage judging system to eliminate any chance of bias.
  • Careful selections of the world’s leading wine and spirits authorities, journalists, buyers, restaurateurs, bar owners and influencers as judges insures UBC’s credibility.
  • With the opening of UBC’s evaluation facility the company’s commitment to unassailable methodology has been enhanced by this specially designed space, devoted solely to the assessment of beverage alcohol.
  • UBC publicizes and promotes its results to consumers, media and members of the spirits and wine trade through its website, emails, social media outreach, affiliate and partner marketing.
  • Support for brands’ promotional programs is provided through extensive marketing collateral such as scores, accolades, Great Value recognition, Tried & True Award, tasting notes, and more.


Ultimate Spirits Challenge and Ultimate Wine Challenge provide the most expert and authoritative evaluation of wines and spirits for producers, marketers, importers, distributors and retailers available.


  • The industry’s finest judges, drawn from our pool of buyers, consultants, journalists, educators and international spirits and wine experts.
  • Small judging flights to avoid palate fatigue. All products are tasted blind and matched like-with-like for judging.
  • Ratings using the consumer-friendly 100-point scale. Ratings using the consumer-friendly 100-point scale.
  • Our permanent tasting facility allows the judges to fully concentrate on each product’s profile without having to rush.
  • Ultimate Spirits Challenge includes cocktail recommendations for individual spirits.


  • Tasting notes for all products rated 85 points and higher.
  • Challenge awards, recognizing excellence with a Chairman’s Trophy and Finalist status for each judging category.
  • Tried & True Award™ recognizes brands that provide unfailing quality to consumers year after year.
  • Great Value recognition for products that have a favorable score/price relationship.
  • Challenge icons, free and downloadable from our website, for use in promotion, on-line and, in print.


  • Results are widely distributed to retailers, restaurateurs, bartenders, distributors and consumers through our affiliation with Beverage Media, the leading trade publication and price book reaching over 72,000 wine and spirits influencers in U.S. markets.
  • Spirits and wines that score 90 points and higher…
    • Have their results appear by selected categories each month in Beverage Media publications in all major U.S. markets
    • Feature on the trade’s most relied upon product ordering platform: BeverageMedia.com.
    • Results featured on over 200 ecommerce websites for retailers, which are specifically designed to sell to consumers.


  • Full details page for each product included on the results page, providing individual rating, tasting note, accolade and downloadable marketing collateral in one easily accessed place.
  • Shelf talkers, bottle stickers, bottle neckers and certificates purchasable through our partner First in Print.
  • Import assistance for producers without U.S. importers provided free of charge.

50 Broadway
Hawthorne, NY 10532 USA

Telephone: 1-914-391-4890

Our Team

David Talbot

Founder, Liquid Library; Co-Founder, Ultimate Beverage Challenge

David Talbot has focused his entire career on the wine, spirits, dining and publishing industries, bringing a unique combination of marketing, sales, design and managerial skills to both established and entrepreneurial endeavors.

David is founder and principal of Liquid Library, focusing on the needs of independent wine and spirits producers. In addition, he works extensively with retailers, assisting with store renovation, product selection and buying, display and merchandising, inventory management, POS system upgrade, website, ecommerce development, and staff training.

In 2010 David joined with partners and co-founders F. Paul Pacult and Sue Woodley to start Ultimate Beverage Challenge (UBC), one of the industry’s leading product evaluation companies. UBC conducts two annual global competitions: Ultimate Spirits Challenge in March and Ultimate Wine Challenge in May. Producers rely on UBC ratings and reviews to help market their wines and spirits.

For 16 years David served as Senior Vice President, Publishing and Events of Wine Enthusiast Companies and Associate Publisher of Wine Enthusiast Magazine. In these roles he was involved in the editorial, design, circulation, marketing and media sales of both the print publication and its website. During his tenure the magazine expanded and enhanced its editorial quality, rating and review program, book publishing, and its online web presence. In addition, David was integral to the launch and growth of Wine Enthusiast’s trade and consumer events, including its annual Wine Star Awards ceremony for the trade and four annual consumer-focused Toast of the Town wine, spirits and restaurant tasting events on a national basis.

David’s publishing background includes art direction at Gourmet, Cuisine and People magazines. His entrepreneurial endeavors include 10 years as founder and CEO of two New York based specialty food companies, Chelsea Baking Company and Chelsea Ice, serving the corporate dining, catering, and hotel and restaurant industries.

David has travelled to many of the major wine and spirit producing regions around the world, and values his wide-ranging relationships on the production, marketing and executive levels of the wine and spirits industry on a global basis.

A native New Yorker, he holds a M.B.A. in Marketing and Management from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a B.G.S. in Art History from the University of Michigan. His non-profit activities include volunteer service with the Boy Scouts of America.