2018 Brewers Association Award Recipients

Since 1987, the Brewers Association has recognized individuals who inspire, defend and innovate within the craft brewing industry to an exceptional degree. These individuals, nominated by their peers, are presented with awards during the general session of the Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America.

We are pleased to present our 2018 award recipients:

F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award

This award is named for the late F.X. Matt, president of the F.X. Matt Brewing Co., Utica, New York, and a tireless and outspoken champion for the small brewing industry.

2018 honoree: Nancy Palmer, Georgia Craft Brewers Guild

This year’s winner is the first woman to win the F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award. She coordinated the brewers of Georgia in an effort that came to an agreement with Georgia wholesalers to allow for pint, packaging and food sales at breweries in her state, which has helped grow the craft brewing business in Georgia and removed a major obstacle to entrepreneurs wishing to start breweries. Additionally she is one of the recognized leaders of the state guilds executive director network.

Brewers Association Recognition Award

The Brewers Association Recognition Award is presented each year to an individual or company whose inspiration, enthusiasm and support have contributed to the craft brewing movement.

2018 honoree: Charles Bamforth, UC Davis

Charles Bamforth trained a generation of brewers as an author, mentor, leader, teacher, professor, beer enthusiast. Among the institutions our recipient has worked with or been honored by are the School of Biosciences at University of Nottingham, Heriot-Watt University, the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, the American Society of Brewing Chemists and the University of California at Davis. His books include Standards of Brewing and Scientific Principles of Malting and Brewing.

Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing

The Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing was established in memory of the late Russell Schehrer, a founding partner, and the original brewmaster, of the Wynkoop Brewery in Denver, Colo. Russell was one of the pioneers in the craft brewing industry and as such, was one of the industry’s early innovators.

2018 honoree: Tomme Arthur, Port Brewing Co./The Lost Abbey

Tomme Arthur began his brewing career in 1996, and quickly developed a reputation for making a variety of excellent ales. He has won the Great American Beer Festival Small Brewery Brewer of the Year on multiple occasions. For years our winner has been innovating on the barrel beer front both with wine and bourbon barrels. In fact, he was one of the early adoptors of both in our industry. Aside from the beautiful beers he makes, he has given all the knowledge he had to anyone that would listen on the topic of barrels and aging beer in wood. When you think about Brettanomcyes he was one of the early adapters in the industry. His collaboration with Peter Bouckaert in 2004, Mo Betta Bretta, a 100 percent Brett beer, was the first of its kind in the U.S. He has matured into a humble brewer showing great creativity and restraint with all the beers he brews.

Craft Beer Wholesaler of the Year

This award recognizes an American beer distributor who goes above and beyond in their efforts to actively market, sell and promote beer from small and independent brewers.

2018 honoree: Tryon Distributing, Charlotte, NC.

Tryon Distributing started as a small wine distributor in 1985 serving three counties in North Carolina. They now carry dozens of craft brewers’ beers on a statewide basis. They are independent of having a major, dominant supplier allowing this multi-generational family business to make independent decisions to benefit their partners and 200-plus employees. The company added a second temperature-controlled warehouse recently to help serve retailer customers. One out-of-state craft brewer noted that “their deep roots of brand building have not only remained intact during this period of industry explosion, but have been addressed to keep up with the changing times, avoiding unnecessary SKU rationalization.”

We raise our glasses to these exceptional individuals and toast to their contributions to American craft brewing.

See past winners.