Local Business

Published on November 23rd, 2021 | by TLV News


Wonderbird Spirits Named “Overall Winner” in Drinks Category at 12th Annual “Made in the South” Awards

Mississippi’s only grain-to-glass distillery feature in Garden & Gun Magazine’s December 2021/January 2022 edition

TAYLOR, MS – Wonderbird Spirits, a maker of premier handcrafted bottled gins and operators of Mississippi’s only grain-to-glass-distillery, has been awarded “Overall Winner” in the Drinks category at the 12th Annual Made In the South Awards produced by Garden & Gun Magazine. The artisanal gin brand – founded by friends Thomas Alexander, Rob Forster, and Chand Harlow – received a prominent feature in the December 2021/January 2022 edition of Garden & Gun, which hit newsstands November 16, and a $10,000 cash prize.

“The diversity of these products represents the future of the South,” says acclaimed bartender and mixology teacher Tiffanie Barriere, who judged the nominees in the Drinks category. “Wonderbird Spirits offers a lesson in the history of gin and distilling in a bottle. I want it in my house, right now.”

Further, Garden & Gun Magazine deemed Wonderbird Spirits “exceptional” and “revolutionary” in its approach to rice-based gin, adding that Wonderbird’s offerings are heightened by “pride, purpose, and, yes, Mississippi magnolia blossoms.”

“To receive ‘Overall Winner’ in a field of worthy and celebrated nominees is a tremendous honor and we are grateful to Garden & Gun and Ms. Barriere for this award,” says Chand Harlow, one of the Co-Founders of Wonderbird Spirits.

“Since we began this journey in 2019, we have not only sought to separate ourselves with a world-class gin, but we also want to celebrate and pay tribute to Wonderbird’s southern heritage – we are forever proud to represent Mississippi,” adds Co-Founder Rob Forster.

Co-Founder Thomas Alexander remarks, “We are thrilled to receive this recognition and continue doing what we love the most – distilling great tasting spirits and delivering our world-class gin to the world, one glass at a time.”

Wonderbird Spirits opened North Mississippi’s first distillery south of the city of Oxford in Lafayette County. Beyond Mississippi, the company currently has distribution deals with licensed retailers in Mississippi, Alabama, California, Florida, Louisiana, and Tennessee; with plans to continue expansion throughout the United States and abroad.

About Wonderbird Spirits

Wonderbird Spirits is the only grain-to-glass distillery in Mississippi and a maker of premier handcrafted bottled gins, including the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits competition gold medal-winning rice-based Gin No. 61. Being the only rice-based American gin, their process borrows from centuries-old Japanese sake making practices to ferment Jasmine rice procured from the Mississippi Delta. Co-founded in 2019 by friends and business partners Chand Harlow, Rob Forster, and Thomas Alexander, Wonderbird Spirits’ singular goal is to deliver world-class gin to the world.

About Garden & Gun

Garden & Gun is a multiplatform media company that celebrates stories of the American South through powerful journalism, bold photography, exquisite design, and finely curated retail and experiential journeys. The brand is anchored by its award-winning national magazine launched in 2007, Garden & Gun, which reports on the South’s sporting culture, food, music, art, literature, and its people and their ideas. The coveted audience of 1.6 million is further engaged through numerous New York Times best-selling books, Fieldshop by Garden & Gun retail experience, the Garden & Gun Club restaurants, and 75+ events each year. Visit gardenandgun.com.

About Garden & Gun’s Annual Made in the South Awards

Garden & Gun created the Made in the South Awards in 2010 to celebrate and encourage Southern craftsmanship, and to recognize the best available Southern-made products. The annual awards recognize products in six categories (Food, Drink, Home, Style, Outdoors, and Crafts) and are judged by industry experts from across the country. The overall winner receives a $10,000 cash prize, and, along with all category winners and runners-up, is prominently featured in the magazine’s December 2021/January 2022 issue, which hits newsstands in November 2021.

This year’s Made in the South Awards judges are: (FOOD) television personality, chef, writer, teacher, and social justice advocate Andrew Zimmern (Minneapolis, MN); (DRINK) Tiffanie Barriere (Atlanta, GA), an independent bartender and innovative industry leader who hosts pop-up dinners and mixology classes across the country; (HOME) Keith Smythe Meacham (Nashville, TN), co-founder of Reed Smythe & Company, a hybrid online shop that partners with Southern artisans to craft distinctive home and garden goods; (STYLE) Rae and David Liu (Dallas, TX), founders of direct-to-consumer brand Leatherology, which crafts customizable leather accessories for men and women; (OUTDOORS) expert sportsman T. Edward Nickens (Raleigh, NC), author of The Total Outdoorsman Manual and a new book out this spring: The Last Wild Road; and (CRAFTS) Jonathan Morris (Fort Worth, TX), entrepreneur and owner of Fort Worth Barber Shop and cofounder of Memo Hospitality Group.

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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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