The Brewers Association (BA) has announced the recipients of its 2020 Industry Awards. Three members of the brewing community were recognized and awarded for their dedication and service. The Brewers Association has been recognizing individuals who inspire, defend, and innovate within the craft brewing industry since 1987.
More from a press release:
Award recipients were nominated by their peers and determined by vote from committees made up of members of the Brewers Association board of directors or past winners of the innovation award.
“This year’s award recipients have elevated craft brewing to greater levels in business and brewing innovation and have worked towards fair legislative and regulatory treatment for craft brewers,” said Paul Gatza, senior vice president of professional brewing division, Brewers Association.
2020 Industry Awards Recipients
Brewers Association Recognition Award
Oscar Wong, founder of Highland Brewing Co. (Asheville, N.C.)
This award is presented each year to an individual or company whose inspiration, enthusiasm, and support have contributed to the craft brewing movement. In 1994, Oscar Wong founded Asheville, North Carolina’s first craft brewery, Highland Brewing Co., kicking off a craft beer renaissance that took the city from sleepy mountain town to the craft beer capital of the Southeast. Wong is widely recognized as the “Father of Asheville Craft Beer.” In 2019, the brewery celebrated 25 years of quality craft beer and independent family ownership. This year, the brewery will celebrate Wong’s 80th birthday and his pioneering spirit, which continues to inspire the local brewing community to this day. Watch Wong accept his award here.
“This is over the top. I am so proud and humbled to be in the ranks of this distinguished group of honorees,” said Oscar Wong, founder of Highlands Brewing Co. and recipient of the Brewers Association Recognition Award. “It means the world to me that our little brewery from a sleepy mountain town could be recognized for our role in the great American craft beer movement.”
Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing
This award is presented in honor of Wynkoop Brewing Company’s Russell Schehrer to an individual or company for their innovative contributions to the brewing industry. McGivney has worked at Odell Brewing since 1995 and is recognized for aiding the development of new hops, building farmer-brewer relationships, serving as part of the hop quality group, and discovering the innovative process of “fresh grind” hops. A hop pioneer in the craft industry, McGivney is responsible for developing brands such as Odell IPA, Drumroll American Pale Ale, Friek, 5 Barrel Pale Ale, and Rupture. In addition to helping other breweries with his wisdom, McGivney’s work has allowed smaller breweries better access to higher quality hops and new experimental varieties. Watch McGivney accept his award here.
F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award
Adam DeBower, co-founder and director of operations at Austin Beerworks (Austin, Texas)
This award is named for the late F.X. Matt of F.X. Matt Brewing Co. and is presented to an individual or company for their contributions and efforts in championing the small brewing industry. In 2019, DeBower, along with other Texas brewers and the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, drove a successful effort to allow most manufacturing breweries to sell beer to-go at their taprooms. DeBower currently serves as the chair of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild Legislative Committee and in 2017 founded CraftPAC, a political action committee dedicated to advancing the rights of Texas craft brewers. Watch DeBower accept his award here.
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Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding.