Saturday, April 19, 2008

stalwart beer advocates

Last evening, I watched the movie Clerks —yet again.

Near the conclusion, Randal reminds Dante that the supercilious attitudes they adopt towards their customers are poses to self-justify their own status. They are, he observes, no better or worse than the store's customers.

We in the craft beer world sometimes, likewise, trumpet our own significance. Witness the comparison of brewers to "rock stars' in a recent Brewers Association (BA) press release on Savor, its upcoming beer and food event:

Meet the luminaries of the craft beer world - 48 breweries from across the country represented (see Participating Breweries). Very few events offer the opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with the "rock stars" of the craft beer world.

At his blog, Alan McLeod red-pencils this inane analogy, just as my eighth grade English teacher nun did to my essays. (And that's a good thing: my writing may still require her not-so-gentle touch.)

That being said, the Brewers Association (and its Association of Brewers predecessor) does annually bestow three separate achievement awards, badges of merit for more than mere beer-style popularity. From yesterday's BA press release:

San Diego, Calif. April 18, 2008- Three predominant members of the brewing community were recognized with awards for their dedication and service to the industry at the opening session of the Brewers Association's annual Craft Brewers Conference.

The Brewers Association Recognition Award went to Dr. Michael Lewis, Professor Emeritus of Brewing Science at the University of California, Davis. With over 30 years of teaching experience, many of Lewis' former students hold prominent positions in the American brewing industry.

<..>The Brewers Association presented the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing to Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing Co. Cilurzo received this year's award for demonstrating creativity, excellence in brewing and substantial contributions to the craft brewing community.

<..>The Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing was first given in 1997 to honor Russell Schehrer, who died in 1996 at 38 years old, for his contributions to the brewing industry. Schehrer was a founding partner and original head brewer at Colorado's first brewpub Wynkoop Brewing Co.

The Brewers Association presented the F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry award to John Carlson, Executive Director of the Colorado Brewers Guild.

John received this award in recognition for being a tireless and outspoken champion of the small brewing industry. [Dick] Cantwell [Head Brewer at Elysian Brewing Company and Brewers Association Board of Directors member] says, "From the early days of the craft brewing movement, John Carlson has been on the front lines of its stewardship and its flowering. As head of the Colorado Brewers Guild he has shepherded one of the country's most active brewing scenes from its infancy to its maturity."

The F.X. Matt Award is given in honor of a champion of small brewers, F.X. Matt (1933-2001), president of the F.X. Matt Brewing Co. in Utica, New York from 1980-1989 and Chairman from 1989-2001.

Past recipients of the Russell Schehrer Award have included Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewing (1998) and John Mallett of Bells Brewing (then Kalamazoo in 2002).

Mallett, maybe not as well known as Oliver, has done much to promulgate and elevate the technical proficiency of craft brewing in the US. He was one of the original brewers at Old Dominion Brewing in northern Virginia in the early 1990s, where he was instrumental in establishing the brewery's predominance in this area.

Prior winners of the Brewers Association Recognition Award have included Michael Jackson, the first recipient in 1987, Fritz Maytag of Anchor in 1988, Bert Grant of Grant's (the US' first modern brewpub) in 1990, Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada in 1991, Jim Koch (and Rhonda Kallman) of Sam Adams in 1997, and Chuck Skypeck (the Johnny Appleseed of cask ale in the southeastern US) of Boscos in 2006.

The DC area's own Marc Sorini, a lawyer with McDermott, Will & Emery, received the F.X. Matt Defense of the Small Brewing Industry Award in both 2004 and 2005. Sorini has worked behind the scenes, in the legal and political ambits, to nurture and protect the craft beer industry.

The entire press release and full list of winners is available here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment here ...