Atlanta, Georgia, May 05, 2021 — Georgia specialty food producer, Built by Bees is pleased to announce its Elderberry Fortress and Blue Sage Honey Shrub are new product sofi award winners from The Specialty Food Association. The Elderberry Fortress was a new product winner in the Functional drinks category, while the Blue Sage Honey Shrub won the best new product in the Alcoholic Beverages and Cocktail Mixes category.
“We are thrilled to receive these prestigious awards, especially across multiple product categories.” said Tim Haratine, president at Built by Bees. “Although these are relatively new commercial product categories for us, we’ve been familiar with them for years as consumers. What started as a casual project to address personal daily culinary cravings and naturally strengthen our immunity against viruses, put us on two parallel courses. The original search soon became a quest to locate, source and tweak the highest quality and complementary ingredients. This search later steered us to create unique, tasty and effective products that have a tangible purpose.”
Built by Bees also recently received a 2021 gold metal award from the Good Food Guild for its Wildflower Honey Vinegar with Smoky Serrano in the Vinegar category.
About Built by Bees
Built by Bees is a leading gourmet honey products producer headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 2015 by Tim and Margaret Haratine, the two established the Built by Bees brand by initially selling at local farmers’ markets with a clean and healthy line of unique, high quality honey products. Over time, they expanded their brand to include whipped and infused honeys, honey vinegars, honey shrubs, mustards and honey nut butters.
Their focus remains on excellent customer service, innovative product development and beautiful packaging. While the company continues to build its on-line customer base; they actively partner and grow with retail customers across the US. As winners of 17 prestigious awards over the last five years, Built by Bees is currently one of the top awarded specialty food companies in the country.
About the sofi Awards
The sofi awards have been running nearly 50 years and honor the top specialty foods worldwide in their annual gourmet food competition. sofi stands for “specialty outstanding food innovation”.
Entries were judged strictly on a blind basis—without packaging, pricing, or any brand identification. SFA has partnered with Rutgers Food Innovation Center in Bridgeton, NJ for judging and logistics management, bringing additional depth in food industry expertise to the competition.
Seasoned food professionals serve as judges, including chefs, culinary instructors, recipe developers, food journalists and specialty food buyers who are experts in particular categories such as cheese, oil, chocolate, coffee, etc.
Judges have come from Food Network, Kroger, Whole Foods Market, The Fresh Market, Eataly, Food & Wine Magazine, FreshDirect, Kings Food Markets, Williams-Sonoma, Union Square Hospitality Group, UNFI, DPI Specialty Foods, and more.
Tasting & Evaluation
The judges work independently in blind-tasting sessions to evaluate each product based on a set of judging criteria. Each judge marks a score for each criteria (on a scale of 1 to 5) and the percentages for the criteria are automatically applied. The final score for an entry is the average of all the judges’ scores for that product resulting in a score between 1.00 and 5.00 points.
Elderberry Fortress and Blue Sage Honey Shrub were two of 130 winners selected from nearly 1,500 entries across 49 product categories. Products were judged in an anonymous sampling. These included measurements for taste – including flavor, appearance, texture and aroma – ingredient quality, and innovation. The sofi judging was held at the prestigious Rutgers Food Innovation Center in April following strict safety guidelines.