Cheers to the mouth-watering magic of...


The Good Food Awards drinks category recognizes America’s tastiest kombuchas, brewed coffees, tonics and more, made with organic or Fair Trade certified sweeteners.


The Good Food Awards rely on the expertise of the drinks community to create the tasting, determine judges and set standards for the category. Read on to learn who has been integral to building the category, as well as what the standards are and who will be judging this year.



Megan Nelson

Specialty, Beer and Cheese Buyer, Palace Market

Megan’s love for food started at an early age. When she was young, her mother transformed their backyard into a vegetable-lovers heaven. She grew up with her hands in the soil; searching for potatoes, harvesting zucchini and picking tomatoes off the vine. When in high school, Megan worked with her mother, creating and sustaining raised beds at her mother’s school. These beds were part of a project to teach students the process of where the food they eat comes from. During her undergraduate years at Sonoma State University, she studied for a year in Florence, Italy, tasting the country’s delicacies meal by meal, learning the importance and impact of the Slow Food Movement. Following her graduation from SSU in 2020, Megan started working as a cheese monger at the Palace Market in Point Reyes Station. While learning the tricks and the trades of the dairy and cheese industry, she worked her way into being the Pricing and Specialty Coordinator for the Palace Market. Now she is excited to highlight the importance of supporting local, sustainable, small businesses that keep the food industry running.

2024 Judges

Andy Naja-Riese

CEO, Agricultural Institute of Marin

Cari Borja

Chief of Staff, Alice Waters Institute

Jon Torres

Business Operations Mananger, Starter Bakery

Kayla Baird

Coffee Experience Manager, Bean and Bean Coffee

Sara Deseran

Food and Hospitality Brand Strategist, Sara Deseran Branding

Lawrence Sander

Wine and Spirits Curator, Palace Market

Heather Irwin

Dining Editor, Sonoma Magazine

Caitlin Wikander

Alcohol Buyer, Market Hall Foods

Leslie Goodrich

Owner, Lala's Jam Bar

Brittany Hartwell

Owner, The Goose & Fern

Shannon Corbell

Event Coordinator, Andis Wines

Caetie Ofiesh

Consultant, Food Writer & Entrepreneur

Sandeep Pahuja

Founder / CEO, Preferred Futures

Annie Pettry

Chef and Founder, Wolfe & Larder


In order to be eligible for a Good Food Award, drinks entries must meet the following standards:

  • Made with a balanced objective of local, organic and highest-quality.
  • Free of genetically modified ingredients (including GM beet sugar and vinegar derived from GM corn).
  • Sweeteners must be organic or Fair Trade certified.*
  • Free of artificial ingredients, including colors, flavors and preservatives including lecithin, carrageen, gums and artificial thickeners.
  • Free of high fructose corn syrup.
  • If made with fruits, vegetables or nuts, they are grown without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers.
  • All spices and herbs must be certified organic, Fair Trade or traceable to the farm level and grown without the use of synthetic inputs.***
  • Dairy products must be made with milk from animals raised using good animal husbandry***** with access to the outdoors. Made without hormones, sub-therapeutic antibiotics and rBGH-free.
  • Made in the USA or US territories.
  • Made by a crafter that is an upstanding member of the good food community, committed to equity and inclusion in all levels of their business,***** as exemplified through integrating these  practices:
    • Creating a safe and healthy work environment where employees receive a fair wage, are safe and respected at work and have access to the resources they need to keep themselves healthy.
    • Offering a diversity, equity, and inclusion training to staff members and/or leadership annually.
    • Thoughtfully acknowledging the heritage of culturally-specific food on websites, packaging and/or marketing materials.
    • For the small percentage of Good Food community that operates on a significantly larger scale, meeting additional criteria related to board diversity, maternity leave and employment practices.*****

*Honey does not require organic certification, but must meet the criteria established for the Good Food Awards honey category.
**IPM practices will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
***If less than 2% of ingredients in the product do not meet this stipulation, the entry will not be disqualified.
****The Good Food Foundation will refer to GAP Level 5 guidelines to define “good animal husbandry” should there be any questions as to eligibility based on this criterion.
*****Check if you are in the 2% of companies meeting the Good Food Foundation definition of large scale, and review the addition criteria on the Rules & Regulations page.


Additionally, drinks entries must fit within one of the following subcategories:

  • Kombucha, kvass & kefir
  • Brewed coffee (e.g., cold brew coffee, mocha, latte)
  • Tonics, soda & sparkling beverages
  • Smoothies & juices
  • Milk & yogurt drinks (e.g., lassi, chocolate milk)
  • Milk alternatives (e.g., oat milk, almond milk)
  • CBD & adaptogen drinks
  • Hot chocolates & Mixes (e.g., must add water or milk)