Franklin Distillery

Michael Stainbrook (left) and Michael Ward are owners of Franklin Distillery.

Franklin Distillery, a modern distillery crafting spirits reflective of the American South, announced this week it earned medals for its flagship products Southern Gin and Southern Vodka in the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, per a press release. 

Rooted in Franklin, Franklin Distillery launched its brand with these two premium products designed to celebrate local ingredients. The brand’s Southern Vodka is one of the world’s first vodkas distilled from Southern-grown citrus and earned a Gold medal. The Southern Gin, crafted with botanicals reflective of the American South, took home a Silver medal.

The San Francisco World Spirits Competition is the largest, oldest and one the most prestigious industry competitions, claiming to set the standard for excellence. With a judging panel comprised of some of the most respected and qualified spirits industry experts, the judges blind taste each spirit entry and rank it on its own merit. Gold medals are awarded to “exceptional spirits that are near the pinnacle of achievement; these products set the standard for their categories,” and Silver medals are designated for “outstanding spirits that show refinement, finesse, and complexity; these winners are among the best examples of their categories.”

“As one of the newest spirits brands in Tennessee, we are excited to be recognized among some of the best of the best,” said Michael Stainbrook, co-founder of Franklin Distillery. “We were inspired to start this business by friendship, camaraderie and the sheer appreciation for a well-crafted cocktail. But to be recognized by one of—if not the—top industry spirits competitions is even more confirmation that we are distilling products of exceptional quality, intention and craftsmanship.”

Franklin Distillery’s Southern Gin unifies 14 carefully chosen botanicals that are representative of the region, including juniper, watermelon rind, pecan, milk thistle seed and hickory. It is brought to proof using pure Tennessee water naturally filtered through limestone. This method defined the brand’s gin and was drawn upon again for its Southern Vodka.

Fellow Franklin Distillery co-founder Michael Ward shared in the excitement for the medaling.

“While we are very proud of this accomplishment, we are forward-looking and eager to continue building our portfolio with spirits that are traditional yet adventurous, and bold yet refined," Ward shared. "We are celebrating this major win in our company’s history while also treating it as a foundational stone as we continue to map our journey.”

Both Stainbrook and Ward are available to share their story at “Meet the Distillers” tasting events, and Franklin Distillery’s spirits are available throughout Middle Tennessee retail stores and restaurants.

For more information or to locate a bottle on your local store shelf, visit