Beer Birthday: Chris Swersey

Today is the 51st birthday of Chris Swersey, who’s on the staff of the Brewers Association as the Competition Manager for both the Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup. He coordinates all the judges, volunteers and the thousands of beers needed for each festival. It’s a big job and Chris seems to do it effortlessly. Plus, last year, Chris and I both judged in Belgium at the Brussels Beer Challenge, which was great fun. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.

Chris reading the list of World Beer Cup winners in 2008.

Nancy Johnson, Justin Crossley & Chris Swersey Before the GABF Awards Ceremony
Nancy Johnson, Justin Crossley & Chris right before the GABF Awards Ceremony in 2009.

Eric and Lauren Salazar, both from New Belgium Brewing, sandwiched by Jim Crooks, from Firestone Walker, and Chris Swersey, Competition Manager for GABF judging.

Me, Chris and another BA staff member freshly arriving at CBC in Austin in 2007.

Beer Birthday: Kim Jordan

Today is the birthday of Kim Jordan, co-founder of New Belgium Brewing. Kim went to Colorado State University in Fort Collins, then stayed in town to start New Belgium in 1991. She recently stepped down as CEO of the company and is currently Executive Chair of the Brewery’s Board of Directors. While not exactly retired, just slowed down a bit for the day-to-day, she’s still very active in both the company’s affairs and the brewing industry more generally through the Brewer’s Association. Join me in wishing Kim a very happy birthday.

Greg Koch & Kim Jordan, from New Belgium
Greg Koch and Kim, at GABF in 2009.

Steve Hindy, Kim, Dave Keene, Eddie Friedland (former owner of Philadelphia’s Friedland Distributing) and Vinnie Cilurzo in Austin, Texas for the 2007 Craft Brewers Conference.

At the 2008 NBWA welcome reception in San Francisco. From left, Jamie Jurado (then with Gambrinus), Lucy Saunders (the Beer Cook), Charlie Papazian (President of the Brewers Association), Kim and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).


Kim in costume with Dick Cantwell at Elysian’s annual pumpkin festival in 2013. [Note: This photo purloined from Facebook.]

Beer Birthday: Paul Gatza

Today is also Paul Gatza’s 51st birthday. Paul is the Director of the Brewers Association in Boulder, Colorado. He’s held numerous executive positions with the BA and its previous incarnation, the Association of Brewers. An avid homebrewer, Paul is great face for the BA and a terrific person. Join me in wishing Paul a very happy birthday.

Toasting in New Orleans for CBC.

Working the AHA booth at GABF.

At the podium during the opening of CBC in 2008.

Paul giving his annual state of the industry talk at CBC in 2012.

Beer Birthday: John Bryant

Today is my good friend John Bryant’s 49th birthday. I first met John when he was with Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. Several years ago he migrated to Odell Brewing in Fort Collins to work his magic on them, and then a few years ago he joined Dale at Oskar Blues. He recently left Oskar Blues and disappeared for a time, finally re-emerging in Spokane, Washington with the newly rebranded No-Li Brewing. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

At the Brewer’s Reception before GABF in 2006. From left: Bob Pease (Brewers Association), Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River Brewing), John and his wife Cindy, Banjo (Real Beer) and Tom McCormick (California Craft Brewers Association).

John, with Ray Daniels of the Brewers Association, who celebrated his own birthday last week.

John and me during a visit to the brewery a few summers ago, when we were in Colorado for my cousin’s wedding.

Beer Birthday: Julia Herz

Today is the 47th birthday of Julia Herz, craft beer program director for the Brewers Association. She worked for big media like CNN before turning her attention to craft beer in 2007, when she joined the organization. Julia was an awesome addition to the BA and was an integral part of its recent growth and the positive attention that beer is starting to get from the media at large, plus she’s a pleasure to work with. Join me in wishing Julia a very happy birthday.

Hawking the media at GABF in 2008.

Peace, Julia, peace.

Julia with Erin Fay Glass at CBC in San Francisco in 2011.

The BA Staff
The BA staff photo from the World Beer Cup dinner in Chicago in 2010. Julia’s near the center in the front row, just to the right of Charlie Papazian (in the tuxedo).

Beer Birthday: Adam Avery

Today is also Adam Avery’s 49th birthday. Adam, of course, founded his eponymous brewery, Avery Brewing, in Boulder, Colorado. Since 1993, Adam’s been making some increasingly hoppy and big, challenging beers that are also quote wonderful, too. Join me in wishing Adam a very happy birthday.

At a Collaboration Beer Dinner with Bruce Paton, center, pitting Adam Avery’s beers against Vinnie Cilurzo’s in 2007.

Tomme Arthur, from Port Brewing/The Lost Abbey, with Adam — behind bars — and Eric Rose, from Hollister Brewing at CBC in Austin, Texas 2007.

After the Five Guys and a Barrel Beer Dinner, a toast was offered with Isabelle Proximus, the Collaborative Sour Ale made by blending beer and done by the five of them. Top row: Adam, Rob Tod, Bruce Paton and Sam Calagione. Bottom row: Tomme Arthur and Vinnie Cilurzo.

Beer Birthday: Eric Warner

Today is the 51st birthday of Eric Warner. Eric founded Tabernash Brewing in Colorado, and later ran Flying Dog Brewing, until they moved their operations to Maryland. He’s also the author of two brewing books, German Wheat Beer and Kolsch: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes. More recently, he moved to Houston to be the brewmaster (although his official title is “Yeast Rancher”) at Karbach Brewing. I first met Eric at Tabernash a million years ago, and several times since then, though for some odd reason I can’t locate any photos. Join me in wishing Eric a very happy birthday.

Eric sitting for a local Texas magazine, 022Houston, about Menspiration.

Beer Birthday: Gary Glass

Today is the 42nd birthday of Gary Glass, Director of the American Homebrewers Association. Gary’s been with the Brewers Association for many a moon and has become the face of homebrewing in America. Join me in wishing Gary a very happy birthday. And relax, drink a homebrew, if you have one.

Gary at Anchor Brewery with his wife Erin after an AHA rally there in 2008.

Gary talking with Fred Eckhardt at Hopworks Urban Brewery, flanked by Christian Ettinger and Brian Butenschoen, Oregon Brewers Guild Director. Photo by Oregon Brewers Guild.

Gary Glass, Erin and Bradley Lantham, from the BA, at Anchor Brewing for an AHA Rally.

Gary, Maya and Erin. (Photo purloined from Facebook.)

Oskar Blues Buys Perrin Brewing

oskar-blues-blue Perrin
Oskar Blues, makers of Dale’s Pale Ale and other canned beers, has announced acquisition of the Perrin Brewing Co. of Comstock Park, Michigan (near Grand Rapids). MLive is reporting the deal, and that as part of it, Keith Klopcic, who formerly worked with nearby West Side Beer Distributing, becomes the new president at Perrin Brewing Co., replacing founder and former brewery head Randy Perrin. According to the article, “financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.” I love this quote: “Other than that, it’s the same company,” said Klopcic. “Nothing changes.” Not to second guess the deal, especially since I don’t personally know the parties involved (apart from Dale Katechis from Oskar Blues), but saying nothing changes when a brewery head and (I presume) a founder leaves a company when it’s sold doesn’t strike me as a particularly honest assessment.

Dan Perrin and Jarred Sper will continue running the brewery alongside production manager and head brewer John Stewart and his team. Sper, who will be vice president of sales and marketing at Oskar Blues-owned Perrin, said the brewery is very excited by the acquisition deal.

According to MLive, here’s what Dale had to say:

In a statement, Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis called the deal “a radical thing.”

“We at Oskar Blues love the Michigan craft beer scene and what the guys at Perrin are doing,” Katechis said. “We feel that Perrin and Oskar Blues have the same mindset toward the craft industry and this partnership will allow us to share information and innovative ideas with one another.”

In December, the breweries teamed up on a lager called “Cornlaboration” that was sold only in Michigan, a state in which Oskar Blues began distributing in 2013.

Until Oskar Blues’ canned beer sales outstripped their original brewpub, they were considered one of the country’s largest brewpubs, so it’s interesting to see them reach a point where they’re acquiring additional brands and another brewery.


Beer Birthday: Danny Williams

Today would have been Danny Williams’ 56th birthday today, having been born exactly two days before yours truly in 1959. Unfortunately, Danny lost a battle with cancer a little over three years ago, and passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 23, 2012. For over a decade, Danny worked for the Brewers Association as the beer competition manager for both the Great American Beer Festival and/or the World Beer Cup. Danny left behind two grown children and an 8-year old son, Fletcher. Join me in raising a birthday beer and giving a toast to the memory of Danny Williams tonight. Danny would have wanted it that way.

Danny Williams and a friend
Danny Williams and a friend at the World Beer Cup dinner in Chicago two years ago.

Tom Nickel (owner of O’Brien’s in San Diego), Nancy Johnson, Director of GABF and Danny at Slow Food Nation 2008 in San Francisco.

Danny in the former goldmine beer cellar.

Danny’s Angels, after a BA event.