Gainesville’s Southern Baked Pie Company takes top prize at UGA’s Flavor of Georgia

Caramel pecan pie for the win as food product contest announces 2016 category winners

Flavor of Georgia 2016 winner Amanda

March 15, 2016

J. Merritt Melancon

J. Merritt Melancon

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Sharon P. Kane

Sharon Kane

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  • magnify Flavor of Georgia 2016 winner Amanda

    Amanda Wilbanks, owner of Southern Baked Pie Company in Gainesville, accepts her University of Georgia Flavor of Georgia grand prize trophy from Gov. Nathan Deal; Sam Pardue, dean and director of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; and Gary Black, Georgia agriculture commissioner, on Tuesday, March 15. (Credit: Merritt Melancon/University of Georgia)

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Atlanta, Ga. - Amanda Wilbanks, owner of Gainesville's Southern Baked Pie Company, baked her way to the grand prize with her caramel pecan pie in the University of Georgia's 2016 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest.

The annual contest, conducted by the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, is a chance for food businesses to showcase their new products.

A team of food industry experts and grocery buyers chose Wilbanks' caramel pecan pie as the best of 33 finalists. They rated the products on qualities including innovation, use of Georgia theme, market potential and flavor.

In addition to the grand prize, Wilbanks also won first place in the confections category.

Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean and Director Sam Pardue congratulated the category and grand prize winners as part of Georgia Agriculture Awareness Day at the Georgia Freight Depot in Atlanta.

"We had over 100 products submitted this year and some of the toughest competition we've seen in the contest's 10-year history," said Sharon P. Kane, Flavor of Georgia contest coordinator. "The 33 products represented are truly the best of the best."

For more information about Southern Baked Pie Company, formerly known as Buttermilk Pie Company, visit

The awards are listed below by prize name, company name, product name, company representatives and town.

Grand prize winner and confections: Southern Baked Pie Company (formerly Buttermilk Pie Company), Caramel Pecan Pie, Amanda Wilbanks, Gainesville

People's choice award: Carroll's Sausage and Meats, Medium Smoke Link Sausage, Johnny Walker, Ashburn

Barbecue sauces: Joe Kem's BBQ, Joe Kem's Barbecue Sauce, Joe Kem Lacey, Moultrie

Beverages: Muscadine Products Corporation, Paulk's Pride 100% White Muscadine Juice, Erin Boettger, Wray

Dairy products: Revolution Gelato, Nekkid Espresso Dairy-Free Gelato, Jared Olkin, Atlanta

Honey: Bruce's Nut-N-Honey Farm/The Honey Shack, Papa's Private Selection Honey 100% Pure, Raw, Unfiltered, Ben Bruce, Homerville

Jams and jellies: Wisham Jellies, Wild Mayhaw Pepper Jelly, Eric Wisham, Tifton

Marinades, sauces and rubs: The Salt Table, Leek, Chive and Onion Dip and Seasoning Blend, David and Carol Legasse, Savannah

Meat and seafood: Hunter Cattle Company, Hot Georgia Night Sausage, Del Ferguson, Brooklet

Miscellaneous: Beautiful Briny Sea, Pocketful of Starlight Vanilla Sugar, Atlanta

Salsas, chutneys and condiments: Abby J's Gourmet, Abby J's Blackhawk Field to Fork Sweet Fire Pickles, Abby Jackson, Clarkesville

Snack foods: Marsh Cabin Bakery, Kim's Cheese Straws-Pecan Cheddar, Kim Kaiser, Statesboro

Showcase events like the 2016 Flavor of Georgia competition help entrepreneurs spread the word about their products. Many have landed spots in regional and national grocery chains like Whole Foods, Ingles, Fresh Market, Earth Fare, Kroger and Harvey's.

Category winners received an award and membership in the state Department of Agriculture's Georgia Grown program, statewide notoriety and bragging rights. All winners and finalists earn the right to have their products stamped with the 2016 Flavor of Georgia logo and gain exposure to grocery buyers and food industry professionals who judge the final round of the contest.

The Flavor of Georgia food product contest is sponsored by the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development in partnership with the Georgia Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, the Office of the Governor, Walton EMC, the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Agribusiness Council.

More information about this year's contest can be found at or by following @Flavor_of_GA on Twitter. For photos, visit


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