Why should producers enter their drinks in The Aurora International Taste Challenge?

The Aurora International Taste Challenge 2020 will be held in South Africa this year, and will have some of the top sommeliers and food professionals judging  drinks from around the world.

Producers of superior products will be granted three, four and five star awards, to reward excellent taste. Besides the normal technical criteria used during judging, wow factor and the reading on the judge’s hedonic scale of enjoyment will be taken into account.

This year all forms of drinks including juice, milk, vegetable milk, soft drinks, tea, coffee and alcoholic drinks will be evaluated. Other categories include beer and cider, as well as bottled water.

This is what some of the award artwork looks like. No physical awards or trophies are awarded.
Maybe unknown today, but on everybody’s lips tomorrow.



We are proud to be partnering with the following comapnies to make the 2020 Aurora International Taste Challenge a big success.

About the drinks challenge

The Aurora International Taste Challenge was formed to recognise superior food products and guide consumers on their path to purchasing the best products with confidence. This year, besides alcoholic drinks, bottled water in every form, from still to sparkling to flavoured as well as ready to drink products including beer and cider will be judged in South Africa by sommeliers and other food industry professionals. The goal is to identify and award the best-tasting products available to consumers.

While many consumers are brand-loyal, most would choose another product if they had access to fair product ratings. We are proud to be setting new quality standards in the food and beverage industry.

We live in a world where drinks are almost considered generic. An award will  instantly set you apart.

Drinks challenge information

What sets one product apart from another?

Products will be judged on aroma, flavour, mouthfeel and overall impression using a proprietary scoring system. Products are tasted blind, and scored on their own merit. Judges score the products on their own in silence, without conferring with other judges. The category that the product is entered will place the criteria of judging in context.

The judge’s personal preference is not taken into account.

Can I use this award artwork for all the brands that this product is produced under?

The award artwork may only be used for the particular brand that was entered. If the company markets the exact same product under different brand names,  additional non-exclusive licences will be granted to be used for the additional brands the product is sold at, at a price equal to the original entry fee.

Who will be judging the competition?


Drinks will be judged by sommeliers, chefs and other food industry professionals who have an intimate knowledge of taste and who will be able to discern superior products.

Are there any royalties involved?

No royalties are payable.

An electronic certificate will be emailed to winning participants. This will be accompanied by a non-exclusive licence agreement that, after being signed by both parties and dependent on adherence to the stipulations of the agreement, will give the winners a non-exclusive licence to make use of the media kit, with various logos and award artwork on their product, in email signatures, digital and in print media for a period of three years from the time the awards are announced. No physical trophies or awards are awarded.

Entry fees and dates
  • 17 March 2020 – Entries open and Early bird special of R950 excluding VAT (approximately USD76 or EUR66) per entry.
  • 9 June 2020 – Normal entry fee of R1200 excluding VAT (approximately USD96 or EUR84) after this date.
  • 21 July 2020 – Late entries can be submitted for R1440 excluding VAT (approximately USD115 or EUR101) after this date.
  • 28 July 2020 – Entries close.
For how long can I use the Award artwork?

The award artwork may be used on the brand’s product that wasawarded, and have a non-exclusive licence agreement signed by both parties, for a period of three years, subject to the terms of the non-exclusive licence agreement.

Non-Alcoholic Categories include:
  • Non-Alcoholic alternatives to popular drinks
  • *Mixers for spirits ( to be mixed during judging)
  • Soft Drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Sports drinks
  • Health/Nutritional drinks
  • CBD infused drink
  • Fruit Juice
  • Smoothies
  • Vegetable Juices
  • Yogurt based drinks
  • Flavoured Milk
  • Vegetable Milk
  • Kombucha(Must have less that 0.5% alcohol)
  • Tea
  • Coffee (ready-to-drink)

Bottled Water will also be judged.

Alcoholic Categories:
  • Beer
  • Cider
  • Mead
  • Spirit based drinks
  • *Spirits to be mixed with mixers (to be mixed during judging)
  • Wine based drinks
  • Cocktails that are well known
  • Other Cocktails that are fruit/vegetable based
  • Shots/Shooters Liquid
  • Shots Jelly/Jello

Beer and Cider will also be judged.

Other important information:
  • For samples, each entry requires a minimum of 6 containers with a minimum combined volume of 1500ml, for products less than 500ml, and 2 containers for containers bigger than 500ml. These samples need to be in their final bottled or packaged format.
  • A product may only be entered once, even if it is available under a different brand name.

You might be one of the bestselling drinks for a good reason.

Use of award artwork illustrated with mock-up examples

Awarded participants can use the supplied artwork and media kit in various ways to enhance the image of their superior products. Please consult the Guide to use of artwork here.

Timeline for the 2020 Competition

Competition Opens
17 March 2020

Early Bird Special Entry Fee
of R950 excl VAT (approximately USD76 or EUR66) applies

Normal Entry Fee applies
9 June 2020

Normal Entry Fee of
R1200 excl VAT
(approximately USD96 or EUR84) applies

Late entry fee
21 July 2020

Late Fee is R1440 Excl VAT
(approximately USD115 or EUR101)

Entries Close
28 July 2020

Delivery of samples
3rd and 4th of August 2020

Results released
11th August 2020

Contacts and delivery of samples

Each entry requires a minimum of 6 containers of samples with a minimum combined volume of 1500ml for products less than 500ml, and 2 containers for samples bigger than 500ml. These samples need to be in their final bottled or packaged format.            

Participants may use any courier, but please ensure samples are delivered to: The Conference Centre at Joostenberg Deli, Koelenhof Road, Stellenbosch, South Africa, between 9:00 and 16:00 on August 3rd and 4th, 2020.

Person receiving samples: Celia Gilloway

Email: celia@eventsbycelia.com

Tel: 082 782 1977

We have partnered with DHL to allow for timely delivery. When making use of DHL, please ensure that you send your samples by 16 July 2020, to: DHL Paarl, 35 Zandwyk Park, Old Paarl Road, Paarl, South Africa, for the attention of: “The Aurora International Taste Challenge C/o Marijke Douglas”. You can contact Marijke on Marijke.Douglas@dhl.com  or phone her on 021 872 4717. DHL will consolidate the samples to make sure they are delivered on time. Late entries might not be accepted.

A product may only be entered once, even if it is available under a different brand name.

For additional information contact Sanet van Heerden at hello@aurorachallenge.com. This competition is run by the Awards Show (Pty) Ltd.

Rules particular to drinks

  • Samples may not be past their sell by date.
  • Entries must be commercially available.
  • Al cost related to delivery, including customs fees and taxes etc. are for the participant’s expense.
  • Only commercially-operating producers, which abide by the food laws of the country of origin, may enter.
  • Winners will be asked to supply the competition with high resolution pack shots for use on its website, and in marketing material. By entering this competition the participant grants The Aurora International Taste Challenge unlimited use of these images.
  • Be sure to securely wrap entries with bubble wrap, or similar to secure your entries against breakage. Please wrap your final package in a plastic bag and make it leak proof and to prevent leakage and damage to other products. Label samples as fragile.
  • Specialised packaging material, or any other packaging material will not be returned. Specialised packaging material can greatly increase to final quality and viability of the sample being judged.
  • If Styrofoam peanuts are used for packaging, please secure them in a container that will not cause leakage or spillage of the packaging material.
  • International entries must take the necessary precautions to prevent breakage and hold-ups in customs, and are encouraged to use local agents to deliver samples.
  • If more than one box of samples are delivered, please mark boxes as “Box 1 of 5”, “Box 2 of 5” etc.
  • After winners are announced, no additional samples are needed.