Garden & Gun’s Made in the South Awards honor the best products crafted in the region today. Winners and runners-up in each category are selected by a panel of G&G editors and guest judges and will be featured in the pages of the December 2024/January 2025 issue, and one overall winner will take home $15,000. Enter by April 30 for a discounted entry fee.

About the Home Category

Think lighting, barware, furniture, pillows, rugs, table linens, kitchen utensils, cutlery. We’re looking for rustic dining tables, contemporary rocking chairs, custom wallpapers—those must-have items that turn a house into a stylish home. Note: Unfortunately, fine artists do not qualify for the awards. We’re always excited to discover new Southern talent, though. Email us at We’d love to hear about your work.

Home Judge
Meet the Home Judge
Gray Benko
Summerville, South Carolina

When Gray Benko learned that the circa-1815 home she and her family had just purchased in Summerville, South Carolina, might be haunted, she knew just the fix: deck it out in color. Think, butter yellow bookshelves, a lilac and floral breakfast nook, a royal blue velvet sofa, and a baby pink piano. The photographer and interior designer embraced that whimsical aesthetic so adeptly that last year, she and her family landed their very own Magnolia Network show, Happy to Be Home with the Benkos, in which she spreads that vivid cheer to historic homes throughout the Lowcountry. Follow her on Instagram @graybenko

About the Crafts Category

Quilters, stationers, bookbinders, basket weavers, textile crafters, ceramists and potters, candlemakers, small-batch beauty and skin-care experts: We’re looking at you.

Crafts Judge
Meet the Crafts Judge
Holly Williams
Montgomery, Alabama

In the early 2000s, when the singer-songwriter Holly Williams would tour for her three critically acclaimed albums alongside luminaries like Jason Isbell and John Prine, she’d spend her off days perusing the home goods, clothing, and crafts she found in stores throughout the country and beyond, falling in love with designers and makers all over the world—but especially those in the South. In 2013, she opened White’s Mercantile in a renovated Nashville gas station as an upscale, one-stop homage to general stores of the past, most notably the shop run by her mother’s family more than a century ago in Mer Rouge, Louisiana. Follow her on Instagram @hollyaudreywilliams.

About the Food Category

Whether you’re selling masterful twists on your grandmother’s old-school pies and cakes, bringing seasonal bounty to the masses by the jarful, packaging this year’s venison as next year’s jerky, crafting artisanal cheeses, bottling a fiery hot pepper sauce, or producing just about any other product for the pantry, this is where you belong. Note: While we do accept items like meat and honey, we cannot accept raw fruits, vegetables, or other crops and produce, but please email us at if you’re a grower with a story to tell.

Food Judge
Meet the Food Judge
Alexander Smalls
New York, New York

Alexander Smalls grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina, surrounded by food and music, two passions he’s put to prolific use. Following an era as a professional opera singer—in which he earned both a Tony and a Grammy for the cast recording of the opera Porgy and Bess—he opened and helmed a series of renowned New York City restaurants, including Café Beulah and the Cecil, and won a James Beard Award for his cookbook Between Harlem and Heaven. His most recent endeavor has taken him from his home in Harlem to Dubai, where he launched Alkebulan, the first-ever African food hall. Follow him on Instagram @asmalls777.

About the Outdoors Category

We’re on the hunt for products, whether for sport or recreation, that prod us to get off the couch and enjoy the outdoors. On the sporting front, we’re looking for items such as fly rods, fillet knives, shotguns, gear packs, game calls, and decoys. For outdoor recreation: Bikes and boats of all types are welcome, as well as backyard games, grills, beautiful garden tools, hammocks, swings, custom campers, and more.

Outdoors Judge
Meet the Outdoors Judge
T. Edward Nickens
Raleigh, North Carolina

The author of several outdoor guides, including The Total Outdoorsman Manual, the North Carolina–based sportsman and Garden & Gun contributing editor T. Edward Nickens most recently published The Last Wild Road, a collection of essays on adventure and the sporting life. This year marks his fourteenth appearance as a Made in the South Awards judge. Follow him on Instagram @enickens.

About the Style Category

Bespoke sunglasses? Sure. A great line of blue jeans? You bet. Jewelry, scarves, shoes, boots, blouses, handbags, hats, button-downs, watches—any kind of apparel or accessories, we’re after it all.

Style Judges
Meet the Style Judges
Ann and Sid Mashburn
Atlanta, Georgia

Before Ann and Sid Mashburn launched their eponymous clothing brands—touting smart and stylish womenswear and men’s blazers, loafers, and button-downs inspired in part by Sid’s Mississippi roots—the two had already made names for themselves in the New York fashion scene: Ann on the editorial side of the industry at Vogue and Glamour; Sid at Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and as the first ever men’s designer at J.Crew. Since opening the Sid Mashburn flagship in 2007 and the Ann Mashburn in 2010 in Atlanta, the brands have spread to Dallas, Houston, D.C., L.A., and New York. Look for their newest store opening in Nashville this fall. Follow them on Instagram @sidmashburn and @annmashburn

About the Drink Category

Here, we’ll toast the game-changing vintners, distillers, and master brewers set on bottling some of the South’s best booze. Cocktail mixers, bitters, simple syrups, and the like are all welcome too. Beyond the bar, iced teas, small-batch sodas, juices, and anything else that’ll quench our thirst makes the cut.

Drink Judge
Meet the Drink Judge
Marianne Eaves
Lexington, Kentucky

Marianne Eaves is no stranger to male-dominated spaces: She took auto shop in high school, studied chemical engineering in college, and began her career learning the ins and outs of whiskey at Brown-Forman—the masterminds behind brands like Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniel’s. Ever undaunted, in 2015, Eaves joined the team at Castle & Key Distillery, where she became the first woman in Kentucky since Prohibition to earn the title of master distiller. Now an independent spirits consultant, she and a group of partners recently debuted their own wheated bourbon, Forbidden, and last year, she launched the Eaves Foundation, which seeks to promote underrepresented communities within the spirits industry. Follow her on Instagram @mariannebmd.

Our Sustainability Award celebrates a Southern maker who has committed to conservation and the environment by incorporating eco-friendly practices into the business model or by partnering with like-minded nonprofits to give back. To be considered, tell us, on your entry form, how you demonstrate that commitment. One winner will be chosen from across all six categories.

PRODUCT PHOTOS: Fredrik Brodén