Keeneland Launches Master of Craft Awards Competition

January 18, 2022

Entries now being accepted; grand prize winner to receive $5,000

LEXINGTON, KY (Jan. 18, 2022) – Two Keeneland institutions – Keeneland Mercantile, the one-of-a-kind retail experience in downtown Lexington, and Keeneland magazine, the quarterly publication that celebrates the Bluegrass lifestyle – have announced the new Masters of Craft Awards, a competition to recognize products of artisans and businesses that are made in the U.S. The entry deadline is Feb. 25, and an entry form link is provided below. The grand prize winner, who will be announced in May, will receive $5,000. 

The competition is open to products in four categories – Food & Drink, Home Goods, Wears and Handmade – with three judging rounds and a Patrons Pick Award. Twelve finalists will be announced April 1 and be featured in the Summer issue of Keenelandmagazine.

 “Craftsmanship means spending thousands of hours to hone your skills to create immaculately constructed and beautifully designed pieces,” Keeneland Director of Retail Kyle Cassin said. “These awards are a celebration of that dedication to excellence.”

“Keeneland magazine is excited to participate in the Masters of Craft Awards,” editor Jacqueline Duke said. “We look forward to showcasing talented individuals and unique businesses whose products capture what is special about the Bluegrass lifestyle and the Keeneland brand.”

Serving as judges of the Masters of Craft Awards are these noted entrepreneurs and experts in Southern goods and services:·      

Allison “Al” and Mike Barker, founders of Made Market, Louisville’s finest curated handmade market. Made Market now hosts annual markets in four states for expanded opportunities to serve artists and artisans.

Dixon Dedman, winner of a Garden & Gun Made in the South Award and a James Beard Foundation’s America’s Classic Award, whose family owns Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.

Emile “Emmie” Howard of Atlanta, founder of Southern Proper and president of Onward Reserve, two popular apparel lines.

Ashley Smith, CEO of Black Soil KY. Black Soil is an agritourism social enterprise that fosters a greater market share for Black farmers, growers and producers in Kentucky.

Chris Thomas of Franklin, Tennessee, founder/CEO of Made South. Made South is focused on creating events that celebrate the South’s best makers and artisans. 

Competition covers four categories

The Masters of Craft Awards comprise four categories:

  • Food & Drink: We’ll raise a glass to the game-changing distillers, master brewers and cocktail mixers, and discover refreshing non-alcoholic small-batch sodas, juices and teas. Whether you’re showcasing century-old family recipes, boxing up baked goods or crafting local honey and jams, this is where culinary excellence shines.
  • Home Goods: Barware, cast iron cookware, kitchen utensils and cutlery, pillows, rugs, and table linens – everything from rustic coffee tables to contemporary leather armchairs – we’re looking for those items that’ll turn a house into a designer’s dream home. 
  • Wears: Race-day neckwear or sportcoat? Millinery or a line of handmade jewelry? We want to see your talents. Button downs, watches, scarves, shoes, boots and the like – we’re looking to applaud it all.
  • Handmade: Hand-painted barrel heads, cloisonné ornaments, letterpress printers, painters and artists, ceramics, candle makers, leather and textile crafters: This is the category for you.

How to enter

Applicants must complete the entry form at and submit four (4) photos of their product, a brief description of the business and product (no more than 250 words) and a non-refundable application fee of $50. Please note only one entry per category will be accepted. Products cannot be submitted to multiple categories for review.

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