Craft Brewers Nominated For James Beard Award

Sam Calagione

NEW YORK – Dogfish Head owner Sam Calagione and Brooklyn Brewery Owner Garrett Oliver have been nominated for the James Beard Foundation award for"Outstanding Wine and Spirit Professional."

Nominees for the award must be a 'winemaker, brewer or spirits professional who has made significant national impact in the wine and spirits industry and have been in the profession at least five years.'

Oliver, Who was a finalist in last years competition is honored to be nominated once again in 2011.

“We’re honored that our great brewmaster has once again been nominated for this prestigious award," said Brooklyn Brewery President Steve Hindy. "Garrett is a tireless promoter of good food and good beer.”

Susan Ungaro, the President of the James Beard Foundation recognized the growing attention the craft beer industry continues to garnish.

"I think there is no doubt that the artisanal nature of brewing beer is being more recognized by our James Beard award judges," She said. "The process of making beer is becoming much more of a fine art and it is being recognized not only by people in the industry but by consumers as well."

In 2003, The founder of Anchor Brewing, Fritz Maytag, took home the award Wine and Spirits award and in 2008 he received the lifetime achievement award for his work in pioneering American micro-brewing. 

According to Ungaro, the semi-finalist list now goes to roughly 400 judges consisting of past winners and journalists. That list will then be narrowed down to five finalists. The same panel of judges will the vote for the winner in each category.

Though the representation from brewers is sparse, Calagione might be a front-runner for the award after a busy year in 2010. His list of accomplishments includes releasing the television series 'Brewmasters' on discovery channel, writing a second edition to his book 'Brewing Up a Business,' and starting a joint venture with Mario Bataly in New York called 'Eataly.' He did all of this amidst an expansion at the Dogfish Head brewery in Milton, DE. 

Though Ungaro would not comment on his chances, she did say that because of Maytag's win in 2003, the hope is always there for brewers. 

Winners will be announced at the Lincoln Center on Monday May 9th. The entire list of nominees in all categories can be found here.

For more information and for tickets to the awards show, visit the James Beard Foundation website. Tickets go on sale March 21st. 

Source: Chris Furnari, brewbound.com