Michigan-based Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales was among 242 companies to receive a 2016 Good Food Award on Friday, January 15 in San Francisco, California. The companies were selected for leading the way towards a tasty, authentic and responsible food system by creating vibrant, delicious, sustainable local food economies.
The award for Jolly Pumpkin was specifically for Maracaibo Especial—a sour brown ale (7.5 ABV | 25 IBUs) inspired by the enigmatic monastic brews of Belgium and the mysterious mist shrouded jungles of the tropics. Brewed with real cacao, and spiced with cinnamon and sweet orange peel for a sensual delight, this brew is meant to be sipped, savored and enjoyed.
In 2014, Jolly Pumpkin received a Good Food Award for its iO Saison (6.8% ABV), a limited-release beer introduced in 2010 as part of the Baudelaire Series.
To enter a product into the Good Food Awards competition, a business needs to go into great detail about what ingredients are used and how they’re sourced—focusing on those that are compatible with the slow foods movement of organic and locally-sourced.
For the Jolly Pumpkin Maracaibo, the story was easy to tell.
“We use Country Malt Group which is a group that believes in sustainable solutions and strategies, YCH Hops which are 100% grower-owned and Canada Malting, a company that continuously focuses on improving its sustainability by working directly with the farming community,” says Laurie Jeffries, who along with her husband and brewer Ron Jeffries started Jolly Pumpkin in 2004.
In addition to the malt and hop bill, cacao, cinnamon sticks and orange peel were added to this beer. The cacao is from Patric Chocolate (also a Good Food Award winner this year), which uses certified organic cane sugar, all organic cocoa butter and certified organic cacao. The cinnamon sticks are USDA certifies organic and fair trade and were harvested from trees rotating every other year for enhanced growing process. The orange peel is also USDA certified organic and fair trade.
“We also needed to answer and satisfy that we are continuously looking at our own operations to find new ways to optimize operations and reduce our footprint,” Laurie says. “To date, we are using a spent grain collection system and spent yeast collection system to capture our by product. We are also investing in further water recycling processes that would allow us to loop our system and generate energy from our by product. And, we have upgraded our lighting systems for better energy efficiency.”
Giving back to the community is another focus of the Good Food Award judging process, and Jolly Pumpkin takes great pride in giving as much back its local communities as they received from them with a main focus being to help with cancer research programs and support groups.
This year’s Good Food Award winners represented 33 states, having risen to the top amongst 1,937 entries in a Blind Tasting with 203 judges held in September. The highest scoring entries were submitted to a rigorous vetting process to verify they met the sustainability and social responsibility criteria. This year’s winners represent the forefront of American craft food, making products that are delicious, respectful of the environment and connected to communities and cultural traditions.
“Twenty years ago, it took travelling across the globe to encounter something so exquisite that it jolted me into seeing the world with new eyes,” Good Food Awards Founder Sarah Weiner noted in her closing remarks at the award ceremony. “Now, you are giving people a taste of how good life can be right here on our own soil…changing America’s definition of Good Food.”
The Good Food Awards celebrates the kind of food we all want to eat: tasty, authentic and responsibly- produced. Awards are granted to outstanding American food producers and the farmers who provide their ingredients. Seedling Projects 501 (c) 3 organizes the Awards, in collaboration with a broad community of food producers, food writers and passionate food-lovers. Find more information at: seedlingprojects.org and goodfoodawards.org.
The presenting sponsor for this year’s event was the Good Food Retailers Collaborative, comprised of 15 exceptional independent retailers: Bi-Rite Market, The Brooklyn Kitchen, Canyon Market, Cowgirl Creamery, Di Bruno Brothers, Each Peach Market, Foragers Market, Glen’s Garden Market, The Greene Grape, JM Stock Provisions/Harvest Grocery + Supply, Liberty Heights Fresh, Market Hall Foods, Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine, SHED and Zingerman’s. Six-year premiere sponsors included Bi-Rite Market and Williams-Sonoma, together with lead sponsors Dominic Philips Event Marketing, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, Veritable Vegetable, New Resource Bank, BCV Architects, Fort Mason Center Farmers’ Market, Ten Speed Press, California Olive Ranch and Impact Hub Soma.
The full list of 2016 Good Food Award winners can be found here.
Jolly Pumpkin is part of Northern United Brewing Co., which also encompasses the Grizzly Peak and North Peak Beer Co. craft beer brands, as well as Nomad Ciders, Civilized Spirits and Bonafide Wines. NUBC’s philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally-sustainable practices.
Find NUBCo products at stores, restaurants, and bars all throughout Michigan, including: North Peak Brewing Company, Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, all in Traverse City; Jolly Pumpkin and Grizzly Peak, in Ann Arbor.