Judged maple syrup contests originated as a friendly competition amongst producers in the early part of the 20th century. More recently, these competitions have evolved into a valuable opportunity for producers to improve their practice and evaluate their production methods. The grading system employed in the judging process facilitates communication about the uniqueness of pure maple syrup. The world standard definitions, uniform grading system, and related guidelines have been developed to promote uniformity throughout the maple industry. In competition, the same standards apply, regardless of where the contest is being held. As maple judging has evolved, so have the guidelines. Every region has contributed to the refinement of these criteria, as the process of judging has become more sophisticated and widespread. Producers throughout the US and Eastern Canada have begun to embrace maple judging as they understand the value of knowing how to make syrup to a high standard. Consumers benefit from the emphasis on taste, and off-flavored syrup is kept out of the market.