36 finalists advance to final round of Flavor of Georgia competition • The Georgia Virtue

By Lillian Dickensthe communications, PR and program coordinator for the UGA Division of Food Science and Technology.

Judges sampled 124 products submitted by 82 Georgian companies in the first round of judging for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ annual Flavor of Georgia food competition on March 10, and selected 36 finalists to advance in the finals will compete in the competition round on 28.

Since its inception in 2007, the competition has served as a launch pad for small businesses across the state. Including this year’s group, 1,650 products were submitted.

“It’s really good to be able to connect with all these small businesses and see the innovation of some of these people,” said Isa Gutierrez, program coordinator for the Department of Food Science and Technology Extension Office, who also plans the annual event.

Submitted food products are judged in 12 categories based on taste, texture and ingredient profile. The judges also consider marketability, how the product appeals to consumers, and how well the product represents Georgia.

“There was a company that made strawberry lemonade jam at last year’s competition called We Bee Jammin’ — now known as Christie B’s Jams and Jellies,” Gutierrez said of the company, which took first place in the jams and jellies category at the 2022 finals. “It was so much fun watching people come up to her and say, ‘Whoa, how did you think of that?’ … It’s great to see these companies thrive post-competition.”

2023 Flavor of Georgia Finalists

This year’s finalists are listed in the 12 competition categories by company, product name and hometown. Every product comes from a Georgia-based company.

Bakery products

  • Lady Belle Macarons, Gritscuits – Smoked Gouda and Garlic, Stone Mountain
  • Suga’s Enterprises, Suga’s Pimento Cheesecake, Powder Springs
  • Honey Specialties, Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake, Millen

Barbecue Sauces

  • Savannah Bee Company, Honey Habanero BBQ Sauce, Savannah
  • Oconee Creations, Oconee Gold white gold, Statham
  • Davis’ Sauces, Davis’ 1929 Sauce, Peachtree City


  • Deer Creek Farm, Blue Harvest Tea, Covington
  • Yardie Drinks, Ginger Beer, Suwanee
  • HIBO, Energize Original, Bishop

Condiments, sauces and condiments

  • Jar Masala, Garden Masala, Snellville
  • Braswell Food Company, Vidalia Onion Steak Sauce, Statesboro
  • Amici Food Group, Honey Hot Sauce for wings and other things, Madison


  • Maybird Confections, Dark Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Toffee, Alpharetta
  • RoHo Bakery, pass me s’more, Decatur
  • Brittle Brittle Bakeries, Pecan Brittle, Fort Gaines

Dairy products

  • Dulce Gelato, Probiotic Kefir Gelato, Woodstock
  • Gatherings, Kimchi Pimento Cheese, Decatur
  • The Cheese Factory at Hidden Creek Farm, Brasstown Bold – Double Blaze Appalachian Goat Cheese Peppered Honey, Blairsville

honey and syrup

  • White Oak Willow, Sugar Cane Syrup, Bluffton
  • Barlow’s, Peach Cobbler Syrup, Atlanta
  • L. Franklin’s Honey, Honey with Cinnamon Cream, Statesboro

jams and jellies

  • Elusive Jams, PEARadise Jam, Carrollton
  • Christy B’s Jams & Jellies, Peaches ‘n Whiskey Preserves, Pooler
  • Georgia Jams, Georgia Scorcher Pepper Spread, Williamson

meat and seafood

  • Jensen Reserve, Biltong Style Bresaola Make Your Own Charcuterie Kit, Loganville
  • White Oak Weiden, Beef Jerky, Bluffton
  • Rocking chair Ranch cattle, smoked biltong, forsyth


  • Sweet Treats Cannery, Blueberry Lavender Pie Filling, Springfield
  • Woodpecker Trail Olive Farm, Prime Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Glennville
  • Tey’s Southern Treats, Southern Fillings, Conyers

Pickles, relish and salsas

  • Point Blank Pepper Company, Hallow Rings, Marietta
  • Crazy Nay’s, South Ga Redneck Caviar, Baxley
  • Sully’s Slammin Fresh Salsa, Mild Fresh Salsa, Roswell


  • All Fixins, Burnin’ Slap Up Spicy Pecans, Twin City
  • CaJa Popcorn, Vadouvan Curry Popcorn, Smyrna
  • The Savannah Cheese Straw Company, cheese straws, Savannah

The best of Georgia on display for all

The final round of Flavor of Georgia will take place at The Classic Center in downtown Athens. Finalists will have a full day of judging and networking with other finalists, including a Shark Tank-style panel of judges, to showcase their products.

“The Flavor of Georgia competition is a unique opportunity for the Department of Food Science and Technology to partner with food business owners from across the state of Georgia,” said Manpreet Singh, Director of the Department of Food Science and Technology. “The competition serves as a resource to support the local food industry with product development and prepares entrepreneurs to bring their products to market.”

For the first time, the award ceremony and reception are open to the public. Entrants will be able to taste the crème de la crème of the competition before the winners from each category and the overall winner of the competition are announced.