|April 17, 2008|
The Craft Brewers Conference, this year held in San Diego, officially began on Thursday, April 17 — as it always does — with all the Brewers Association members assembled in a large hall for the “Welcome and Keynote Address.” During this time, they also present three awards important within the craft beer industry.
After opening remarks from BA President Charlie Papazian, Tom Nickel gave the history of San Diego, the area’s beer community, along with tips on what to see and do in the city.
Then Paul Gatza did a more in-depth analysis of last year’s craft beer sales and volume numbers that were recently released.
John Carlson received the first award, in his role as director of the Colorado Brewers Guild. John is a great guy and I had the pleasure of judging with him last year at GABF.
From the press release:
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. Cantwell 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.
Dr. Michael Lewis, from U.C. Davis, received one of the three awards. It was wonderful to see Dr. Lewis get this well-deserved award. He has personally trained a staggering number of working brewers over the years. Even I’ve taken the brewing short course from him and Charlie Bamforth.
And he gave some heartfelt remarks.
From the press release:
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’s former students hold prominent positions in the American brewing industry.
Dick Cantwell, Head Brewer at Elysian Brewing Company and Brewers Association Board of Directors member says, “As one of the seminal educators of craft brewers, Dr. Lewis has taken our movement from improvisation to awareness of what it is we do. It’s high time his patience, wit and knowledge is celebrated by those who owe him so much.”
To select a winner of the Brewers Association Recognition Award each year, members of the association nominate candidates and the Brewers Association Board of Directors votes to determine the winner.
Vinnie Cilurzo, from Russian River Brewing, won the coveted “Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing.” He made a moving speech, thanking his wife and business parter Natalie, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
From the press release:
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.
Cantwell says, “Vinnie is one of the quiet innovators, inventing beers that have become standard styles today, such as double IPA, and by crafting beers that defy description, like his many Belgian blended barrel-aged beers. He’s brought a winemaker’s style and sophistication to the craft of hands-on brewing.”
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. He was also one of the first brewers to produce mead, doppel alt, cream stout and chili beer.
Brewers Association brewery members submit nominations every year for the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing. The winner is chosen from the slate of nominees by a vote of the previous award winners.
Rich Doyle, founder of Harpoon Brewing, gave the keynote address, along with a toast to the official opening of the conference.
Then the BrewExpo America Trade Show began, with equipment, packaging, ingredients and other businesses providing services to the brewing industry were on hand at booths to display their wares.
There was lots of kid-in-a-candy-store brewing equipment at very turn of the large hall.
At the same time, the dozens of seminars also began. Here, my friend and colleague Harry Schumacher gives a presentation to the media.