On Saturday, Matt Venzke became the 12th recipient of the coveted title “Beer Drinker of the Year,” and marked the second year in a row someone from Virginia won the title. Venzke is an aircraft maintenance manager in his daily life. This is his fourth time entering and last year was a semifinalist.
Matt Venzke moments after winning. Behind him are judges that he had to impress to be crowned this year’s Beer Drinker of the Year.
From the Press Release:
“For four years now,” Venzke said, “it’s been a dream of mine to win the Beerdrinker of the Year title. It’s great to now be recognized by the judges and previous winners. I’m proud to be among this very select group of beer lovers.”
“I feel like I’ve been given a flag to carry,” Venzke adds, “for all of the great things beer has to offer.”
Venzke’s home beer bar is The Taphouse on Queensway in Hampton, Virginia. He is the second straight Virginia resident to win the competition. (Diane Catanzaro of Norfolk, Virginia was the 2007 Beerdrinker of the Year.)
Venzke beat out finalists J Mark Angelus (of Nehalem, Oregon) and Richard Pedretti-Allen (McKinney, Texas). He landed the title with a combination of impressive beer drinking experiences, humor and beer ambassadorship.
Venzke’s resume boasted of many beer drinking experiences. Venzke has visited 454 breweries in 69 nations and 39 states. Over the past five years, he has recorded tasting notes on over 3200 different beers in 69 different styles.
He logged 3,000 miles in 2007 while traveling to breweries across North America. While stationed in alcohol-free Kuwait on a military deployment a few years ago, Venzke conducted a tasting of 17 non-alcohol beers.
Questions from the Finals judges elicited some revealing info from Venzke. When asked what he’s doing to get around the current ban on carry-on beer for US air travelers, Venzke winkingly cited an upcoming effort to petition US brewers to start packaging beer in 3-ounce portions.
Congratulations to Matt.