While film lovers were busy analyzing the 2019 Oscar nominations (including six nods for BlacKkKlaansman, a Spike Lee film based on the true story of a Colorado Springs detective), we were celebrating something a little more mouthwatering: 11 Colorado makers were recognized in this year’s Good Food Awards.
The annual competition recognizes products that are both delicious and display “social and environmental excellence.” There are 16 categories—everything from cider to fish to preserves—and the Centennial State was honored in eight:
- Beer: Ska Brewing Company (Durango), True Blonde Ale
- Charcuterie: Il Porcellino Salumi (Denver), pepperoni
- Coffee: Commonwealth Coffee Roasters (Denver), Carmen Estate
- Confections: Bee Ranch (Lone Tree), honey salted caramels
- Elixirs: Cocktailpunk (Boulder), oak aromatic cocktail bitters; Dram (Salida), Palo Santo cocktail bitters
- Pantry: The PB Love Company (Denver), salty peanut
- Snacks: Morgan Handmade Rations (Denver), Colorado green chile potato chips
- Spirits: Bear Creek Distillery (Denver), rye vodka; Deerhammer Distillery (Buena Vista), Progeny Series: Cultura cask-finished American single malt; Leopold Bros. (Denver), Maryland-style rye whiskey
“Being there at the awards ceremony, being around all these other makers and producers and total nerdy foodies, it reminded me why I started the company, why we’re in business, why we do what we do,” says Mario Esparza, founder and “head nut” of the PB Love Company, which crafts artisan nut butters. “[The award is] a demonstration of our commitment to our work and the purpose of the company, which is to feed people and spread some smiles.” Beyond the ingredients, PB Love is also focused on sustainability, reusing nearly all of its packaging and serving samples on metal spoons at farmers’ markets and other events to reduce waste. Find the handcrafted, small-batch delights online and at Mercantile Dining & Provision and Cured in Boulder, among other specialty shops.
Kyle Morgan, owner of two-year-old Morgan Handmade Rations, has already seen an uptick in business since the awards were announced. (2019 is the first year for the “snacks” category.) “The Good Food Awards is the premier award for food and beverage companies with regard to taste and sustainability of ingredients,” he says. “It’s a huge honor.” His winning “Colorado Green Chili” potato chips are made from third-generation Rockey Farms potatoes in the San Luis Valley, Hatch green chiles from New Mexico, and spices from Savory Spice and the Spice Guy. Buy them online, at area breweries such as Call to Arms Brewing Company, and boutique purveyors like St. Kilian’s Cheese Shop.
The winners were chosen from more than 2,000 entries and can now place a blue Good Food Award seal on their top-spot-earning products.