James Beard Restaurants: Don’t Forget to Add These to Your List

Check out these James Beard restaurants for your influencer account set. Plus, find out who's winning the menu in these award-winning establishments.

As a beverage alcohol supplier, one of the key strategies to increase your brand’s visibility and sales is to get it placed in the best restaurants in the United States, aka “influencer accounts.” Among these restaurants, James Beard award-winning establishments stand out as the cream of the crop. But what exactly are James Beard restaurants, and why are they important?

What are James Beard Restaurants and Why are They Important?

The James Beard Foundation is a non-profit organization that promotes America’s culinary heritage through a variety of programs and initiatives. One of its most prominent initiatives is the James Beard Awards, which are often referred to as the “Oscars of the food world.” These awards are given annually to chefs, restaurants, and other culinary professionals who have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields.

To win a James Beard award is a prestigious achievement, and it immediately sets a restaurant apart from its peers. James Beard restaurants are recognized not only for their exceptional food but also for their commitment to sustainability, community involvement, and culinary education. These values align closely with the values of the modern consumer, who is increasingly looking for sustainable and socially responsible brands.

Why Getting Your Alcohol Brand into James Beard Restaurants is a Good Tactic

Getting your alcohol brand into a James Beard restaurant is not only a great way to increase your brand’s exposure but also a way to align your brand with the values of the modern consumer. Here are a few reasons why:

Exposure to a Captive Audience

James Beard restaurants are renowned for their exceptional food, and people go to these restaurants with high expectations. This means that when your brand is placed in a James Beard restaurant, it will be seen by a captive audience of discerning diners who are more likely to appreciate the quality and unique flavor profile of your product.

Association with Excellence

As mentioned earlier, winning a James Beard award is a significant achievement in the culinary world. Getting your brand placed in a James Beard restaurant immediately associates your brand with excellence, and this can do wonders for your brand’s image and reputation.

Access to Influential Chefs and Restaurant Owners

Getting your brand placed in a James Beard restaurant also means that you’ll have access to influential chefs and restaurant owners who can help promote your brand. These individuals are often highly respected in the culinary world, and their endorsement of your brand can go a long way in increasing its credibility and visibility.

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2022 James Beard Restaurants

Below is a list of the 2022 James Beard Foundation restaurant winners. 

Outstanding Restaurant  (Presented by Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water)

Chai Pani, Asheville, NC

Best New Restaurant (Presented by BentoBox)

Owamni, Minneapolis

Outstanding Hospitality (Presented by American Airlines)

Cúrate, Asheville, NC

Outstanding Wine Program 

The Four Horsemen, NYC

Outstanding Bar Program

Julep, Houston

2023 James Beard Nominees

Here are the nominees for the 2023 James Beard Foundation awards:

Outstanding Restaurant Presented by Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water 

  • Copine, Seattle, WA
  • Coracora, West Hartford, CT
  • Friday Saturday Sunday, Philadelphia, PA
  • Lucia, Dallas, TX
  • Mita’s, Cincinnati, OH

Best New Restaurant 

  • Causa, Washington, D.C.
  • Dept of Culture, New York, NY
  • Don Artemio Mexican Heritage, Fort Worth, TX
  • Kann, Portland, OR
  • Lupi & Iris, Milwaukee, WI
  • Neng Jr.’s, Asheville, NC
  • Nolia, Cincinnati, OH
  • Obélix, Chicago, IL
  • Restaurant Beatrice, Dallas, TX
  • Tatemó, Houston, TX

Outstanding Hospitality Presented by American Airlines 

  • The Black Cypress, Pullman, WA
  • Bottega, Birmingham, AL
  • Lula Drake, Columbia, SC
  • The Quarry, Monson, ME
  • Sepia, Chicago, IL

Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program 

  • COTE, New York, NY
  • Lazy Bear, San Francisco, CA
  • Nancy’s Hustle, Houston, TX
  • OTOTO, Los Angeles, CA
  • Spencer, Ann Arbor, MI

Outstanding Bar Presented by Hilton 

  • Bar Leather Apron, Honolulu, HI
  • Drastic Measures, Shawnee, KS
  • Garagiste Wine Room | Merchant, Las Vegas, NV
  • Las Ramblas, Brownsville, TX
  • Rob Roy, Seattle, WA

James Beard Restaurant Insights From Overproof

Overproof analyzed the menus of this year’s James Beard Outstanding Bar Nominees from January to March 2023 and identified the top suppliers and brands by menu share (percentage of menu placements). 

The top 3 suppliers are Beam Suntory at 11.0%, Bacardi at 9.6% and Campari trailing closely behind at 9.1% menu share. The first place supplier for the entirety of Overproof’s U.S. database during this timeframe goes to Diageo (13.9%), while Pernod Ricard shares second place with Bacardi at 9.6%. However, only Bacardi maintains the same place (2nd) and same menu share of 9.6% for the rest of the accounts in Overproof’s database. 

The top brands in order of ranking are: Campari, Angostura, Carpano, Dolin, Maker’s Mark, Nikka, The Botanist, and El Dorado. Interestingly, the top 8 brands for James Beard Outstanding Bar Nominees share no overlap with the top 8 brands for on-premise accounts in the rest of Overproof’s database during the same time period. 

Below you will find the top cocktails, top suppliers, product category breakdown, and top brands for James Beard Outstanding Bar Nominated establishments. 

Top Cocktails in James Beard Outstanding Bar Nominees

Modern Cocktails: 45.9%

Old Fashioned: 12.6%

Negroni: 6.1%

Whiskey Highball: 4.2%

Martini: 3.8%

Daiquiri: 3.2%

Sour: 2.2%

Spritz: 2.2%

Top Suppliers in James Beard Outstanding Bar Nominees

Beam Suntory: 11.0%

Bacardi: 9.6%

Campari: 9.1%

Pernod Ricard: 7.4%

Brown Forman: 5.1%

Diageo USA: 4.6%

Haus Alpenz: 4.0%

Branca USA: 3.9%

Product Category breakdown for James Beard Outstanding Bar Nominees

Rum: 11.8%

Bourbon: 10.2%

Amaro: 10.1%

Gin: 9.0%

Scotch: 7.5%

Vermouth: 7.4%

Tequila: 6.2%

Bitters: 5.3%

Top Brands in James Beard Outstanding Bar Nominees

Campari: 4.0%

Angostura: 3.9%

Carpano: 3.1%

Dolin: 2.2%

Maker’s Mark: 2.1%

Nikka: 1.8%

The Botanist: 1.8%

El Dorado: 1.6%

For a quick comparison, here are the overall stats from Overproof’s complete database:

Cocktails

Modern Cocktails: 37.5%

Margarita: 12.8%

Martini: 9.8%

Mule: 5.5%

Old Fashioned: 5.1%

Mojito: 3.2%

Manhattan: 2.9%

Suppliers

Diageo: 13.9%

Bacardi: 9.6%

Pernod Ricard: 9.6%

Beam Suntory: 7.8%

Campari: 7.1%

Brown Forman: 5.6%

Sazerac Company: 5.0%

Remy Cointreau: 3.7%

Product Categories

Tequila: 16.1%

Vodka: 14.8%

Bourbon: 11.3%

Rum: 6.7%

Scotch: 5.4%

Gin: 5.3%

Orange Liqueur: 5.3%

Amaro: 3.5%

Brands

Titos: 3.1%

Cointreau: 2.8%

Bacardi: 2.3%

Absolut: 2.1%

Grand Marnier: 1.8%

Angostura: 1.8%

Patrón: 1.7%

Jack Daniel’s: 1.6%

The Importance of Using Tech to Find the Right Accounts

A beverage alcohol supplier can benefit greatly from using a technology solution like Overproof to find the right bars and restaurants to place their alcohol brands in. Overproof allows beverage alcohol suppliers to search for bars and restaurants based on specific criteria, such as location, cuisine, and customer demographic. This helps to ensure that the supplier’s products are being placed in establishments that are likely to appeal to their target customers, which can lead to increased sales and brand recognition, and decreased time door-knocking on accounts.

Overproof also provides valuable data and insights on bar and restaurant performance, such as sales lift, depletions, and customer demographics. This can help beverage alcohol suppliers to better understand their target market and make informed decisions about where to place their products.

Overall, using a technology solution like Overproof can help beverage alcohol suppliers to efficiently and effectively place their products in the right bars and restaurants, resulting in increased sales and brand recognition.

FAQs

Which is higher Michelin Star or James Beard?

Michelin stars and James Beard awards are both highly respected in the culinary world, but they are different in nature. While both accolades are highly sought after, they are not directly comparable as they recognize different aspects of the dining experience.

What’s the difference between James Beard and Michelin?

The main difference between the James Beard awards and Michelin stars is their focus. The James Beard Foundation recognizes excellence in the culinary industry in various categories, including restaurants, chefs, and journalists. The Michelin Guide, on the other hand, focuses exclusively on restaurants and rates them on a scale of one to three stars based on the quality of their food, service, and ambiance. Additionally, the Michelin Guide covers a larger geographic area, with guides published for cities and regions around the world, while the James Beard awards are specific to the United States.

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