The 2014 semifinalist nominations for the James Beard Awards were announced yesterday, and the good news is there are quite a few beer professionals among the nominees for “Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional.” If you’re not familiar with the prestigious food awards, here’s how the James Beard Foundation describe their annual awards. “Covering all aspects of the industry — from chefs and restaurateurs to cookbook authors and food journalists to restaurant designers and architects and more — the Beard Awards are the highest honor for food and beverage professionals working in North America.” Until very recently, the awards were almost exclusively food and wine-centric, but more recently “beverage professionals” has slowly been expanding to include craft beer and spirits, too. It’s been nice to see the prejudice against beer in the food, cooking and restaurant world finally beginning to slide away. Too slowly, perhaps, but still … it’s about time and nice to see.
The list released yesterday is the semifinalists. On March 19, a smaller list of finalists will be announced from among the semifinalists and the award winners will be announced over two days in early May. In the category “Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional,” seven of the twenty semifinalists work in the beer world. Hopefully, they’ll all make the cut next month.
- Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE
- Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield, Vanberg & DeWulf, Cooperstown, NY
- Mike Floyd, Nick Floyd, and Simon Floyd, Three Floyds Brewing, Munster, IN
- Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, NY
- Tom Peters, Monk’s Cafe, Philadelphia
- Joey Redner, Cigar City Brewing, Tampa, FL
- Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, ME
Congratulations to all the semifinalists. It’s a great list, all deserving, though I’m especially pleased to see Tom Peters, who I just traveled to Belgium with last week, along with Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield, who I had dinner with in Ghent last week, make the list.