By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published May 15, 2024 at 11:02 AM

Milwaukee-crafted Top Note has earned top honors for the second year running from The San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the largest and most influential spirits competition in the world.

The brand's Classic Tonic Water – already among the most award-winning tonic waters in the industry – earned double gold in the annual competition, receiving a gold medal rating from each member of The Tasting Alliance judging panel, comprised of the industry’s most active and knowledgable experts. 

This is an unprecedented win for the local business, which brought home one of only 65 double golds awarded from roughly 6,000 global entrants. Even more impressive, it’s the only tonic beverage to have earned back-to-back double gold honors, further cementing the brand’s reputation as an innovative, independent craft brand of non-alcoholic mixers and sodas.

Top Note’s Classic Tonic Water was also named “Double Gold and Best in Show” at the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers Show last year and has earned frequent mentions as "Best Craft Tonic Water" by Liquor.com. Featuring all-natural bitters of quinine, notes of lime zest, and real cane sugar, the tonic water boasts 30% less calories than other premium and commercial tonics and is designed to be consumed with or without spirits.

Top Note also brought home gold medals for two additional products: Bitter Lemon and Sparkling Grapefruit Soda. 

Top Note Bitter Lemon, a favorite among bartenders, showcases the warm spice and bright citrus flavor of real lemon juice and natural gentian root extract. Meanwhile, Top Note Sparkling Grapefruit Soda offers a balanced tart, fresh citrus flavor using 15% real grapefruit juice and high-quality grapefruit peel extract. Both are made with all-natural cane sugar.

Co-owned by respected industry expert Mary Pellettieri, Top Note has made a splash with its scratch-made products, each offering a twist on traditional mixers. The products are mindfully created to offer balanced profiles when paired with alcohol, but also when consumed as stand-alone beverages. 

“We’re inspired by bartenders and consumers becoming more adventurous with their tastes, seeking innovations and unique flavor combinations,” says Pellettieri. “And we are thrilled and honored to be recognized again this year as an innovative, independent craft brand of non-alcoholic mixers and sodas, and to stand out to such an elite group of industry professionals.”

Top Note Tonic is available at select retailers across the country including local shops like Outpost Natural Foods Co-Op, Ray’s Wine & Spirits, Sendik’s Food Market, Nehrings Sendiks and Groppi Stores, Whole Foods Markets and Woodman’s. The beverages can also be ordered online at topnotetonic.com.

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.