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Good spirits are made by distillers committed to their craft, making responsible choices at every step of the process. Spirits that meet the criteria for entry will be able to trace all of their ingredients, from base distillate to added ingredients, without the use of genetically modified crops and without artificial additives.


The Good Food Awards rely on the expertise of the spirits 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 spirits standard are and who will be judging this year.



Liz Rubin

Department Head of Alcohol and Cheese at Bi-Rite Market Divisadero

Liz has been a wine/cheese professional in the San Francisco Bay Area for 7 years. Her monger/retailer cheese persona began to be realized during her Master’s research at the University of Oregon, where her thesis dealt with the experience of eating and the way in which it builds community and bridges gaps between maker and consumer. That work led Liz to her mongership at Mission Cheese in San Francisco, and the Cheese School of San Francisco, where she has acted as faculty for the past 3 years. Bi-Rite Market has been Liz’s professional home for around 5 years –first at the 18th Street market and now at the Divisadero location where she is department head of both cheese and alcohol, purchasing purchase wine, beer, and spirits for the store. Liz also sells wine and spirits for Sacred Thirst Selections.

Brittany Smail

Server at Pizzeria Delfina

As a bartender and bar manager, Brittany helped build one of Colorado’s most comprehensive bourbon programs before relocating to San Francisco in 2008 to join its thriving cocktail and food scene. She quickly joined forces with the Good Food Awards to promote the growing wave of responsibly and passionately made American spirits. She established the inaugural Good Food Awards Beer and Spirits Garden and has alternately served as Chair of the Spirits and Elixirs categories for the past 8 years. When not tinkering with cocktails at home, you can find her reading at one of San Francisco’s many excellent breweries.


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

  • Made in the USA or US territories.
  • Utilize ingredients that are grown and sourced responsibly, with awareness of origin, seasonality, trade and labor practices.
  • If the primary ingredient is a fruit, it is sourced domestically where possible, and grown without the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers. Where a grain is the primary ingredient there is a strong effort made to use ingredients free of these inputs wherever possible.
  • Free of artificial ingredients, including colors, flavors and preservatives.
  • Distilled without genetically modified ingredients, including the use of GM corn to produce grain neutral spirits.
  • Made by a crafter that is an upstanding member of the good food community, committed to equity, inclusion, and justice in all levels of their business.

*We will consider IPM practices for certain fruits on a case-by-case basis.

Please note that modifiers such as bitters, shrubs, syrups, tinctures, concentrates, drinking vinegars and flavor extracts should be entered into the Elixirs category.


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

  • Whiskey
  • Gin
  • Vodka
  • Agave-Based
  • Sugarcane-Based
  • Fruit-Based Distillates
  • Liqueurs (Aperitifs, Digestifs, Fortified Wine)
  • Low ABV


Eric Ocoa

Owner/Bartender, Elda

Luke Baxter

Maker, Bar Agricole

J.D. Nasaw

Founder, Open/Up Hospitality

Mary Bartlett

Co-founder, Future Gin

Alec Cummings

Assistant Sommelier, The Morris

Shani Jones

Owner, Peaches Patties

Amber Selene Turpin

Freelance Food & Travel Writer

Tina Hardison

Co-Founder & Creative Director, Goldmine

Paul Amoroso

Operations Manager, Cream Co Meats