Social Sparkling Wine, Good People Brewing Company, Heritage Distilling Company, Inc. and WineRx were the winners of ECRM‘s 2019 Grand Tasting awards, held during its Global Wine, Beer & Spirits and On-Premise Adult Beverage sessions in August in New Orleans.
Approximately 80 vendor contestants participated, showcasing their products during a networking dinner attended by retailers, foodservice/bar operators, and suppliers who cast their votes based on taste, packaging, and innovation. Winners were selected in four categories: Best Wine, Best Beer, Best Spirits, and Most Innovative.
“The product innovation we see each year at the Grand Tasting is amazing,” said Amanda Tomsik, ECRM’s Director of Foodservice and Adult Beverage. “Each of the winning products is representative of the hot trends we’ve been hearing about here at the session, in particular the focus on wellness and RTD alcoholic beverages.
“Most of this year’s winners are companies that are led by women. Congratulations to all of the winners!”
Best Wine: Social Sparkling Wine
At age 26, Leah Caplanis, the CEO and Founder of SOCIAL Sparkling Wine, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and she decided to heal holistically, without surgery. After abstaining from alcohol for three years and following a vegan diet, Leah was healed and was ready to enjoy being social again, including enjoying wine and cocktails. After realizing that the alcohol market was lacking health-conscious options that fit her new lifestyle, Leah and her team took matters into their own hands and created SOCIAL.
The mission of SOCIAL was and continues to be to provide products that empower people to enjoy alcohol and “be SOCIAL” but still wake up the next morning with the energy to seize the day and live a fulfilling life. Its products are available in more than 4,500 locations across all 50 states, as well as on its e-commerce site. The company is also expanding beyond wine with a new line of organic sparkling waters and organic botanical liqueurs.
SOCIAL’s organic wines are the cleanest alcohol available today. The wines are brewed with fermented organic brown rice and superfoods. Each is only 88 calories, contains one gram of sugar and four grams of carbs, and is gluten- and sulfite-free.
Best Beer: Good People Brewing Company
Good People Brewing Company is Alabama’s oldest and largest brewery. It’s been in business since 2008 and produces about 25,000 bbls a year, only selling to markets in the deep South.
The company showcased three beers during the Grand Tasting: Good People IPA, Muchacho Mexican Lager, and Avondale Spring Street Saison. The most popular seemed to be the Good People IPA, its flagship bestseller with red, white, and blue packaging to signify it as a classic American IPA.
Best Spirit: Heritage Distilling Company, Inc.
Heritage Distilling Company, Inc. (HDC), opened to the public in Gig Harbor, Washington in 2012. It is one of the premier craft distilleries in the U.S and has been the most-awarded craft distillery in North America for the past six years.
BSB-Brown Sugar Bourbon is naturally flavored whiskey featuring generous amounts of brown sugar and hints of cinnamon to create a sweet and indulgent spirit with a classic whiskey warmth. It’s particularly well-suited for new whiskey drinkers looking to learn more about the bourbon category. It makes for a smooth shot or mixes perfectly for a great cocktail.
Most Innovative: WineRx
Drop It was founded by Jennifer Corcoran, CEO of WineRX, who couldn’t enjoy one simple glass of wine without a throbbing headache. Following two years of research and experimentation on how to solve this problem with a simple product, she finally developed an all-natural formula that eliminated the headaches without changing the flavor of her wine.
Drop It is an all-natural, effective, easy to use, discreet, quick and safe drop that is placed in wine. It can be used in a red, white, or sparkling wine, and while it will not affect the flavor, it may make a young astringent red wine a little smoother. It reduces both sulfites and tannins in wine, and it can be added to either a glass or favorite bottle. Each bottle of Drop It contains enough solution to treat up to 55 glasses of wine or seven to nine bottles of wine.