Flavor of Georgia Grand Prize Goes to New Creation Soda Works

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Monday, April 8th, 2024

New Creation Soda Works won the grand prize at the 2024 Flavor of Georgia food contest for their product, PECHES Georgia Peach Soda.

A family-owned company based in Bishop, Georgia, New Creation Soda Works started selling their soda syrups at a local farmer’s market in 2015. Today, their product line — comprised of sodas with flavors including strawberry habanero, butter pecan cream soda and the old-time root beer that inspired the company — sells in more than 700 locations nationwide.

PECHES Georgia Peach Soda combines the state fruit with purified carbonated water and pure cane sugar for what Head Brewer Alex Harding calls a light, refreshing beverage free from high fructose corn syrup and caffeine.

“We’re proud to partner with Pearson Farm and for all our peaches to be sourced from Georgia. We’re trying to create a great experience; an experience that you want to come back to,” Harding said. “We test and pilot until we think the flavor is the best in the world.”

New Creation Soda Works was among 36 finalists narrowed down from 139 entries during the first round of judging last month. Products are judged on their Georgia theme, commercial appeal, taste, innovation and market potential. Judges for the contest include food brokers, grocery buyers and other food experts.

Flavor of Georgia, a University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Signature Event organized by the Department of Food Science and Technology (FST), has helped launch small, startup food companies while garnering recognition in new markets for established brands since 2007. The contest is supported by presenting sponsor AGCO, as well as the Georgia Department of Agriculture and Georgia Grown, the CAES Alumni Association, Farm Credit Associations of Georgia and Corteva Agriscience.

“The Flavor of Georgia contest allows the Department of Food Science and Technology to engage and promote food entrepreneurs in Georgia,” said Manpreet Singh, FST department head. “Experts from our department work with these food entrepreneurs in understanding food ingredients, product profiles and other key aspects of developing new products. Through this CAES Signature Event, the department and its (UGA Cooperative) Extension faculty provide a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their innovations in food.”

The 2024 winners

This year’s winners represent all corners of the state and the best of Georgia’s diverse culinary heritage. Winners are listed by company, product name and city within the 12 competition categories.


Baked Goods: Pearson Farm, Peach Cobbler Kit, Fort Valley

Barbecue Sauces: Braswell’s Food Company, 1946 Sugar Free BBQ Sauce, Statesboro

Beverages: New Creation Soda Works, PECHES Georgia Peach Soda, Bishop

Condiments, Sauces and Seasonings: ResQue Rubs, Duke’s Steak Rub, Cumming

Confections: Goodson Pecans, Sweet Orange Pecans, Leesburg

Dairy Products: Jensen Reserve, Bacon French Onion Dip, Loganville

Honey and Syrups: Noble Honey Company, Garlic Hot Honey, Dallas

Jams and Jellies: Anna’s Garden, Blue Satsuma Jam, Fitzgerald

Meats and Seafood: Jensen Reserve, Little Lonzina, Loganville

Miscellaneous: Goodson Pecans, Toasted Pecan Fudge Butter, Leesburg

Pickled Vegetables, Relish and Salsas: Evergreen and Market, The Banana Pickle, Atlanta

Snack Foods: Corks Popcorn, Buffalo Ranch Popcorn, Statesboro

A People’s Choice Award, chosen by event attendees, went to The Chai Box for their Chai Concentrate.

Celebrating innovation and entrepreneurship in Georgia’s food industry

Each entry in the Flavor of Georgia contest is featured in the digital product directory, including a professional photograph and brief overview, which is seen by leading food industry buyers and media outlets. The 36 finalists received a personalized press release, use of the Flavor of Georgia finalist logo on their label and promotional materials, and the opportunity to present their product to a panel of food industry experts at the final judging event. Finalists also received a one-year Georgia Grown membership, courtesy of the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

The grand prize winner was awarded an exhibit space at the Georgia Food Industry Association annual convention (a $1,500 value) and three consultation sessions from the UGA Food Product Innovation and Commercialization Center (FoodPIC) on product or process design, ingredient functionality, sensory testing or shelf-life determination (a $1,500 value).

“Starting a food company is challenging enough; navigating the technical and regulatory process adds additional stress to entrepreneurs,” said Jim Gratzek, FoodPIC director. “We are happy to help establish food safety planning, navigate the regulatory process and provide assistance in commercializing these products and more into the Georgia market.”

In his remarks at the award ceremony, CAES Dean and Director Nick T. Place detailed the high value the college places on innovation and entrepreneurship.

“We recognize that, without those two elements, it is challenging to address complex issues in agriculture and environment,” Place said. “With entrepreneurs competing from all across the state, Flavor of Georgia is an opportunity to not only showcase all that Georgia has to offer, but also to propel these individuals and businesses forward as leaders in the food industry.”

To learn more about the contest, visit flavorofgeorgia.caes.uga.edu