Two Charleston outfits — FIG and High Wire Distilling Co. — will tonight find out if they are James Beard Foundation award winners.

FIG is a nominee in the Outstanding Restaurant category and Ann Marshall and Scott Blackwell of High Wire were nominated in the Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional category.

Winners will be announced during the 2019 James Beard Awards Gala at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. It starts at 7 p.m. EST. The gala will be live streamed on Twitter and at

FIG has twice won the award for Best Chef Southeast, and last year won the award for Outstanding Wine Program.

The Outstanding Restaurant category recognizes a restaurant “that demonstrates consistent excellence in food, atmosphere, service and operations” and has been in business for at least 10 years.

When the foundation announced in late March that FIG made it the final round in the that category, Mike Lata of FIG called it “the ultimate honor.”

The downtown Charleston restaurant is up against Balthazar in New York City; Jaleo in Washington D.C.; Quince in San Francisco and Zahav in Philadelphia.

Quince and Balthazar were also nominated in the same category in 2018.

Marshall and Blackwell, who founded High Wire Distilling Co., made the foundation’s long list in 2018 for the Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional category. The distillery opened in 2013 in a 6,000-square-foot former painting contractor’s warehouse on Upper King Street.

Marshall previously said she didn't expect to make it as finalists. 

“We’re a little stunned,” she said. “It’s such a big category with giants in the industry, so we had no idea which way it would go.”

“We saw it as a massive long shot,” Blackwell added.

Others in the finalist field include Cathy Corison of Corison Winery in St. Helena, Calif.; Steve Matthiasson of Matthiasson Wines in Napa, Calif.; Rob Tod of Allagash Brewing Company in Portland, Maine; and Lance Winters of St. George Spirits in Alameda, Calif.

Corison was nominated in the same category in 2018, as was Matthiasson, who has been nominated a total of four times for James Beard awards.

The winners are selected by a panel of approximately 600 voters, consisting of many previous award winners as well as food writers and cooking instructors.

Reach Amanda Hancock at 843-937-5320. Follow her on Twitter @Amanda1hancock.

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