Two Craft Founders Up for Prestigious James Beard Award

allagash brewing company

Two craft beer brewery founders are still in the running for a prestigious national award.

Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione and Allagash’s Rob Tod were recently named finalists for this year’s James Beard Award in the “Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional” category. The award goes to someone in that area that has worked in its industry for more than five years and has made a significant national impact on the restaurant industry.

Calagione founded Delaware’s Dogfish Head in 1995, Tod started Allagash in Maine, also in 1995. The two east coast regional breweries produce more than a quarter of a million barrels of beer per year combined.

Along with Calagione and Tod, Russian River’s Vinnie Cilurzo; Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø of Evil Twin; and Boston Beer’s Jim Koch were named semifinalists.

Brooklyn Brewery’s Garrett Oliver won the award in 2014. The winner of this award and other honors will be named on May 2 in Chicago.


Tod was in Belgium earlier this week during the terrorist attack on the airport in Brussels. He and a team of five others from the brewery were heading home from a tour of Belgian breweries on March 22.

“We are all 6 safe, and headed for a flight out of Paris,” he tweeted after the attacks. “A very, very sad day for Brussels.”

Allagash Brewmaster Jason Perkins tweeted that the attacks happened five minutes before they arrived at the airport.

“It was intense,” he told The Brewer Magazine on Friday.

Nominees in nearly 60 categories were announced in the James Beard Foundation’s various awards programs, including Restaurant and Chef, Restaurant Design, Book, Broadcast & Journalism, and Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America: a select group of renowned culinary professionals who have made a significant and unique contribution to the American food and beverage industry.

Established in 1990, the James Beard Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and further the Foundation’s mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire.

Each award category has an individual committee made up of industry professionals who volunteer their time to oversee the policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their respective Awards program. All JBF Award winners receive a certificate and a medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. There are no cash prizes for the award.


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