In case you were hungover and missed it, winners of the Brewers Association’s 2022 Industry Awards were announced at the Craft Brewers Conference in Minneapolis, Minn., this week. In addition to the usual awards, Mentor of the Year Award was added this year to recognize volunteers who provided outstanding guidance through the fledgling Brewers Association mentorship program.
“From inspiring and mentoring future leaders, to pushing the envelope of brewing innovation, to protecting craft brewers’ rights, this year’s award recipients have had immeasurable positive impacts on the craft beer community. We are thankful for their contributions to advancing craft brewing and the examples they set for others to emulate,” said Bob Pease, president and CEO, Brewers Association.
The Brewers Association has been recognizing individuals who inspire, defend, and innovate within the craft brewing industry since 1987. 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 award winners.
F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award
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. And the winner this year is Sam Hendler, co-founder Jack’s Abby and president, Massachusetts Brewers Guild (Framingham, MA).
Since stepping into his role as the Massachusetts Brewers Guild (MBG) president in 2020, Sam Hendler, co-founder of Jack’s Abby Craft Lagers, has been a force in the defense of the craft beer industry. Masterful at creating and nurturing key relationships, Sam was able to successfully negotiate one of the most progressive franchise law changes to date—ending a 10-year battle with the Beer Distributors of Massachusetts.
During the pandemic, Sam was in constant communication with the governor’s office, the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, the Brewers Association, and the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, advocating for the brewing industry while helping to translate regulations to guide and reassure the brewing community. Sam is the type of person to always say “yes” when it comes to advocating for the industry. He is respected by his peers and is generous with sharing resources and knowledge. Sam’s contributions to the breweries in Massachusetts, and the rest of the country, are immeasurable.
Brewers Association Recognition Award
This award is presented each year to an individual or company whose inspiration, enthusiasm, and support have contributed to the craft brewing movement. And the winner this year is Steve Hindy, founder, Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn, NY).
In 1984, Associated Press foreign correspondent Steve Hindy moved back to Brooklyn from the Middle East, where he first discovered homebrewing. A few years later, Steve convinced his neighbor and homebrew partner Tom Potter to quit his steady job at a bank and join him in starting a brewery. Tom agreed and they delivered their first batch of Brooklyn Lager to Teddy’s in Williamsburg. The bottle bore a logo designed by the legendary Milton Glaser.
Thankfully, Steve and Tom succeeded and today, their dream is seen in more than 30 countries on five continents, wherever Brooklyn Brewery beers are sold. Steve is the author of “The Craft Beer Revolution,” and co-author of “BEER SCHOOL” with Tom Potter. In 2020, Steve was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Entrepreneurship at Cornell.
Steve also dedicated himself to the growth of the brewing industry through leadership as chair of the Brewers Association board of directors, creator of the association’s Market Development Committee, and longtime chair of the PR and Marketing Committee, including the development of the independent craft brewer seal.
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. And the winner this year is Karl Ockert, Karl Ockert Brewing Services
Karl Ockert entered the world of brewing and began his nearly four-decade career when Dick and Nancy Ponzi needed a brewer to help design, build, and run their new microbrewery that opened in 1984. Hired as its first head brewer for what was then known as the Columbia River Brewery, Ockert used his Fermentation Science degree from UC Davis to brew at the pioneering Oregon brewery. The brewery later became known as BridgePort Brewing, where he worked until 1990 before taking a position at Anheuser-Busch in Newark, N.J.
Returning to BridgePort in 1996, Ockert helped establish it as one of America’s premier breweries. He stayed at BridgePort until 2010 when he left to work as a craft brewery consultant and to take on the role of the technical director at the Master Brewers Association of the Americas. In 2015, Karl returned to brewing, joining Deschutes Brewery as its director of brewery operations.
Today, utilizing his experience, his talent for collaboration and teamwork, as well as his broad network of fellow brewers and industry veterans, Karl helps clients both large and small in achieving their goals through his firm, Karl Ockert Brewing Services, LLC.
Brewers Association Mentor of the Year Award
This new award recognizes a volunteer mentor for their outstanding mentorship to program participants and for demonstrating an extraordinary commitment to championing those who experience barriers to access and advancement in their professional journeys. And the first ever winners are Annette May and Ramon Tamayo.
Annette May is a founding faculty member of the Schoolcraft College Brewing and Distillation Technology program and the first woman to become a Certified Cicerone. Annette continues to mentor in the program and provides mentorship in serving and tasting beer and craft beer 101 education for aspiring and advancing professionals.
Ramon Tamayo, brewing manager for Magnolia Brewing Co., continues to mentor the third cohort by providing mentorship in technical brewing and brewery safety to participants in all stages of career development.
The Brewers Association recently announced the selection of the third mentorship program cohort; with 34 participants, it is the largest cohort to date. Head here to learn more.