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 seal will be given in the categories of Whiskey, Gin, Vodka, Agave-based, Sugarcane-based, Fruit distillates, and Liqueurs. View the full criteria for entry.


Brittany Smail became a champion of American craft spirit producers while working as a bartender and bar manager in Boulder, Colorado.  Now a resident of San Francisco, she joined the Good Food Awards in 2011 to run the Spirits blind judging and to oversee the creation of the Good Food Awards’ first Beer & Spirits Garden at the Ferry Building Marketplace.  In 2012 she co-chaired the Spirits Committee with David Driscoll.

David Driscoll has been the Spirits Buyer at K&L since 2009.  He makes annual visits to Scotland and France in search of unique and interesting spirits for his retail outlets, while maintaining the widely read K&L Spirits Journal blog.


David Othenin-Girard, a life-long lover of good wine and food, began his career at a prestigious Los Angeles wine store in 2005.  In 2009, he took over the reins of K&L’s already well respected Spirits Program and help guide it toward its goal of providing the world’s finest and most unique spirits.  He has expert knowledge of most spirits categories and contributes to K&L’s very popular Spirits Journal blog.

Nicolas Palazzi owns & operates PM Spirits, a small New York-based import/distributing company specialized in the sourcing of artisan spirits with a focus on Cognac. He is also an independent cognac bottler with proprietary cellar in the Cognac region of France, sourcing, aging and bottling single casks (or demi-johns) of old, pure artisan cognacs.

James Lee is a mixologist at The Bitter Bar, a Boulder, CO establishment that serves up both classic cocktails and refreshing takes on American bar food. His signature drink? El Humidor: a blend of Sombra mescal, plum wine, and Qi smoked black tea liquor.

Jennifer Colliau, the owner and operator of Small Hand Foods, Classic Ingredients for Pre-Prohibition Era Cocktails, is a Bay Area native and bartender of 16 years. She has garnered praise for both her Small Hand Foods creations and her dedication to classic cocktails. She currently tends bar at The Slanted Door in San Francisco.

Dale DeGroff, aka King Cocktail, developed his extraordinary techniques and talent tending bar at great establishments, most notably New York’s famous Rainbow Room, where he pioneered a gourmet approach to recreating the great classic cocktails. DeGroff has been credited with reinventing the bartending profession in the 1980′s, setting off a cocktail revival that continues to flourish. Winner of the 2009 James Beard Wine & Spirits Professional Award, Dale DeGroff is the author of The Essential Cocktail and The Craft of the Cocktail.

Richard Brandenburg is the Director of Culinary Strategy for EDENS. EDENS develops, owns and operates community-oriented shopping places in primary markets throughout the East Coast. Richard oversees all food and restaurant initiatives and strategic leasing as they relate to EDENS’ overall portfolio including the identification of chef-driven restaurant opportunities, working with organic and sustainable retailers, and the development of food related districts. Prior to joining EDENS, Richard was the Kitchen Director for Jose Andres’ Think Food Group responsible for the openings of America Eats Tavern and the Bazaar. He was the Executive Chef at Cafe Atlántico/Minibar, Urbana in the Palomar Hotel, One Market Restaurant, and larger operations such as the Bohemian Club and St. Andrew’s. Early on his career, he was a sous-chef at Le Bernadin and with Laurent Gras at the Fifth Floor.

Jennifer Seidman has been the owner and operator of Acme Bar & Company, a Berkeley establishment specializing in whiskey and featuring rare and unusual bottlings, since 2002. Jennifer is a first level Sommelier with extensive spirits knowledge and twenty years of bar and restaurant experience. She is a lover of all things yummy.

Aaron Gregory Smith is the General Manager and Operating Partner of 15 Romolo in San Francisco. He has served on his local chapter of the United States Bartenders’ Guild for 4 years and now serves as the Vice President of the organization nationally. He has been a longtime advocate for quality and integrity within his business, personal, and volunteer pursuits and is thrilled to help build the spirits category of the Good Food Awards.

Spirits Judges

Aaron Gregory Smith, General Manager and Operating Partner at 15 Romolo
Amanda Womack, Manager at Cask Store
Brandon Clements, Bar Director at Bacchus Management
Caleb Zigas, Director at La Cocina
Craig Lane, Mixologist at Bar Agricole
David Othenin-Gerard, Spirits Buyer at K&L Hollywood
Eric Lecours, Wine & Spirits Director at Donato Enoteca
Erik Adkins, Bar Director at Slanted Door Group
Erik Ellestad, Proprietor at Savoy Stomp
Gibson Thomas, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at Edible Marin & Wine Country
Gina Chersevani, Bartender & Member of D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild
Greg Lindgren, Founder at Rye on the Road
Jennifer Colliau, Bartender at Small Hand Foods
Jennifer Seidman, Owner of Acme Bar & Company
Jon Gasparini, Founder of Rye on the Road
Nicolas Palazzi, Owner of PM Spirits
Owen Thompson, Head Shaker Monkey at Range
Peter Hertzmann, Author of Knife Skills Illustrated & Butchers Guild Member
Richie Bradenburg, Director of Culinary Strategy at Edens
Scott Beattie, Spoonbar and Artisanal Cocktails
Thad Vogler, Owner of Bar Agricole