The story of a patent attorney turned ginger drink maker has won the Specialty Food Association’s first-ever advertising contest for specialty food professionals to tell a compelling story about their passion for specialty food.

More than 70,000 votes were cast in the not-for-profit trade association’s “My Story, My Ad” contest to determine the Top 10 finalists. They were selected from 373 inspiring stories about family businesses, culinary breakthroughs, childhood memories, career changes, and more.

This week a panel of advertising and marketing professionals met at the Specialty Food Association’s offices in New York to evaluate the Top 10 entries and select a winner. The panel also chose to name a runner-up.

The winning entry is from Reuben Canada of Canada Enterprises in Philadelphia for Jin+Ja: The Spark of Inspiration. This is Jin+Ja’s second honor this summer. The ginger drink won the Association’s 2013 sofi™ Award for Outstanding Beverage. The prize in the ad contest is a free ad campaign and three-day trip to San Francisco, a $15,000 value. The ad will be featured in top specialty food trade magazines, online, and at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, Jan. 19 – 21, 2014.

The runner-up is from sisters Leah and Stephanie Melnik, partners in Awesome Bars, San Francisco, for “You Can’t Fake Awesome.” Awesome Bars is a maker of granola bars. In honor of their runner-up selection, they are being given passes to the Winter Fancy Food Show, complimentary registration to the Association’s signature full-day workshop at the show, The Basics: The Business of Specialty Food, and a marketing consultation with Association executives.

For the winning entries, click here.