Last year's Good Food Awards, the Bay Area-originated competition for responsibly-produced cheeses, preserves, beer, and other delicious edibles, marked the first time the event had included a spirits category. Jennifer Colliau, from the Slanted Door and Small Hand Foods fame, gathered up a group of local industry professionals (myself included) and we took entries from distilleries all over the country. There were whiskies, liqueurs, vodkas, gins, and eau de vies from American producers who were committed to the finest base ingredients, sourced from sustainable agriculture. We tasted spirits from entrants nationwide. We chose what we felt were the best of the bunch. We had an absolute blast.
This year they've handed the reins of the Spirits category over to me and, while I'm still a bit overwhelmed by the task Alice Waters and the gang have given me, I've joined up with my co-chair Brittany Smail and, this time around, we've decided to bring in spirits specialists from all over the U.S.A. Of course, the first thing I did was call David OG in Hollywood. Then I rang New York - "Palazzi, are you in?" We got master cocktailian Dale DeGroff on board. People were excited. In order for the Good Food Awards to truly be a national celebration of artisan distillation, there would need to be nationwide representation! We would unite the clans! The list would continue to grow.
Now, finally, August 5th has come upon us. The entry period for this year's Awards has begun. If you're a distiller of spirits committed to using the finest ingredients from responsibily-produced agriculture, then we're interested in hearing from you. To win a Good Food Award shows consumers that you're interested in more than just bulk production. Winning a Good Food Award means you understand what good booze is about and that you're willing to take responsible, eco-friendly steps in order to produce it. It also means that some of the most-experienced, most-respected names in the business (and me) have tasted your product blindly and decided that they think it's pretty good. As far as booze awards go, this is the only competition I'm willing to be a part of.
If you feel your spirit would make a great entry for this year's Good Food Awards, you've got all month to submit your form. Follow this link to the GFA website entry form and become a part of the movement. I've already heard from so many of last year's hesitant entrants, like Clear Creek's Steve McCarthy, who told me it was the best thing they did all year. I'm expecting 2012 to be bigger and badder.
See you at the finish line!