Merrilee Kick and BuzzBallz/Southern Champion provide $5,000 in Science Scholarships

Helena, MONTANA, May 16, 2018 – BuzzBallz/Southern Champion, LLC, and CEO Merrilee Kick awarded four of Montana’s top-ranked high school science students with their annual Science Innovator Scholarship. The scholarship recognizes students who demonstrate curiosity, a strong work ethic, and outstanding skills in leadership, teamwork, and communication.

Capital High’s winners for 2018 were Hannah Dreesbach (1st Place, $1,500) and Elliott Pryor (2nd Place, $1,000). Helena High’s winners were Mariah Thompson (1st Place, $1,500) and Nathan Kynett (2nd Place, $1,000). The scholarship honors 2012 Montana Teacher of the Year Tom Pedersen of Capital High who has dedicated his career to innovative science instruction.

The scholarship was created to honor Kick’s parents, Gil and Marilyn Alexander, both retired science teachers from Capital and Helena High Schools and founders of the Montana Learning Center. Merrilee Kick, a 1981 graduate of Capital High, cited her own interest and reliance on science as a beverage company CEO and personally congratulated the winners, writing,
“You can be what you want to be, and with focus and determination, you will continue to make the environment and the world a better place.” The Montana Learning Center, located in Helena, provides professional development resources for Montana teachers and student enrichment programs all year round as well as an annual STEAM summer camp for grades 1-12.

About BuzzBallz/Southern Champion:
BuzzBallz began in 2009, by the edge of a backyard pool in between a pile of papers to be graded and, of course, a cocktail. Merrilee Kick was a high school teacher working on her master’s degree when she realized she was on to something big. The poolside drink sparked an idea that would revolutionize American cocktail culture and shake up the liquor industry in more ways than one.

Fast forward to 2018, Kick has successfully created one of the fastest growing ready-to-drink brands nationwide, with distribution in 42 states and seven international countries. She has also expanded her business’ portfolio to include premium spirits and wines under the name Southern Champion, one of the only women-owned distilleries in the country. Based out of Carrollton, Texas, Kick’s family owned and operated facility continues to prosper with a team of creative, dedicated people who share her vision. We hope you join us on our journey! Cheers from our family to yours. To learn more about BuzzBallz/Southern Champion, visit

Media Contact:
Sheba Khodadad, PR
6 Degrees Deep

EY Announces Merrilee Kick of BuzzBallz/Southern Champion Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2018 Award Finalist in the Southwest Region

Carrollton, TEXAS, May 6, 2018 – EY announced today that Merrilee Kick is a finalist for the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 Award in the Southwest region. The awards program recognizes entrepreneurs with a commitment to innovation, achievement and growth for their business and community. She will join other finalists at the awards gala on Saturday, June 23, 2018 at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, where regional winners will be announced.

Merrilee Kick

Kick, who has been a finalist for the award in previous years, said the honor recognizes her humble beginnings in the liquor business to becoming a leader in the marketplace. “From the beginning, my focus was to grow a family-oriented business and make great tasting products. In addition, as a result of my scientist parents, it is important to me to be environmentally sound. We grew this company into making global brands with global audiences, and we are very proud of that accomplishment,” said Kick.

Media Contact:
Sheba Khodadad, PR
6 Degrees Deep

Crooked Fox Blended Bourbon Whiskey Wins Gold at 2018 World Spirit Awards

BAD KLEINKIRCHEIM, AUSTRIA March 25th, 2018 – Southern Champion was awarded 5 winning medals for their spirits at the 2018 World Spirit Awards in Austria. Gold medals went to XIII Kings Vodka, Pelican Harbor Light Rum, Pelican Harbor Black Rum and Crooked Fox Blended Bourbon Whiskey, and Andrew John’s Gin scored a Silver.

The industry expert judges hailed Southern Champion’s spirits for their strength of character, smooth aromas, balance and superior taste. Founded by former skier turned spirit evangelist Wolfram Ortner, the WSA judges still rate spirts in competition according to Ortner’s scoring system, which includes two categories for fragrance, two for taste, and a fifth for harmony.

The WSA is dubbed the “World Championships” of spirits by industry insiders. Only 450 spirits from around the world reached the official tasting in Austria where medals were awarded. Southern Champion’s five wins at this year’s WSA attest to their passion for making some of the world’s finest spirits, enjoyed by consumers and expert judges alike.

Sheba Khodadad, PR
6 Degrees Deep

Crooked Fox Blended Bourbon Whiskey Strikes Again at MicroLiquor Spirit Awards

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – January 19, 2018. For the third year in a row, Southern Champion, home of Buzzballz, makes a huge statement at the MicroLiquor Spirits Awards in November 2017 with its own spirit lines.

Triple Gold medals were awarded to both Andrew John’s Gin and Pelican Harbor Light Rum for their exquisite tastes and standards of excellent quality. Crooked Fox Blended Bourbon Whiskey and XIII Kings Vodka both left the awards with Gold medals. Pelican Harbor Black Rum received a Silver medal.

Andrew John’s Gin won a Gold medal in the packaging competition for its sleek, clean bottle that portrays an upscale earthy, grass-like essence. XIII Kings Vodka received a Silver medal in the packaging competition, while Pelican Harbor Light Rum and Crooked Fox Blended Bourbon Whiskey both left with Bronze medals.

The MicroLiquor Spirit Awards is the World’s Premier International Spirits Competition for small and emerging brands. The competition brings in hundreds of different brands from around the world to compete for the top medals, specifically, a triple gold medal. The MicroLiquor Awards recognizes the triple gold spirits based on extraordinary taste and the highest standard of quality and excellence, and receive the highest recommendations in the competition.

One of the world’s most distinguished agencies for alcohol beverage package design, Flowdesign, is responsible for judging the packaging competition. The competition is based on brand concept, logo and brand identity, brand story, graphics, typography, style and legibility, and overall design among other things.

The MicroLiquor Spirit Awards is the world’s first spirits competition for small brands. Stealing some of the top honors, Southern Champion is coming home with bragging rights and nine new medals.

Crooked Fox Blended Bourbon Whiskey Can’t be Stopped!

ENCINO, CA – December 15, 2017. Crooked Fox Blended Bourbon Whiskey and Pelican Harbor Black Rum receive major recognition by The Tasting Panel, the nation’s leading beverage publication that reaches over 90,000 industry professionals. Hundreds of spirits are sent in each month by companies across the world in hopes of being reviewed by the prestigious panel of judges, who only review a handful of spirits per month.

Pelican Harbor Black Rum receives a majorly successful rating of 93 points, an A in the eyes of the Tasting Panel. The judges note that the black rum carries tastes such as, “Blackstrap molasses melds with pronounced aromas of green apple and clover honey. On the palate, a creamy layer of vanilla extract and honey wheat bread entry showcasing some dry tannins. Mid-palate to finish, it takes flight with a cocoa biscuit-y intensity to a smooth-as-silk landing. Complex and noteworthy.”

Crooked Fox Bourbon receives a huge rating of 92 points, which is also the equivalent to an A on the Tasting Panel scale. The panel of judges give notes on the American blended whiskey stating, “Orange peel and nectarine greet the nose with a hint of pine sap and other woodsy qualities. This fox is approachable – no growls and certainly no bites, but a sensual nature that permeates the palate. Dry on the finish, with black plum, peach and toffee, and a touch of tobacco leaf. God our ears perked up!”

The Tasting Panel Magazine is the largest circulated trade publication in the beverage industry that reaches thousands of key decision-makers across the United States and is still growing and thriving on an international scale. “The Tasting Panel continues to help shape opinion, influence beverage buying decision-makers, and enhance the joy of wine and spirits for the trade and the public.” (

Millie Flowers, Marketing Coordinator
Southern Champion