We’ve never won a major award (cue sad trombone). It’s perhaps because of our obsession with dicks, Voltron and embedding wildly unrelated hyperlinks. Maybe it has something to do with management — the boozy degenerates who faked their way through “journalism” for the last 15 years. Maybe it’s about posting the same story twice. But more probably (a phrase we’re really trying to make popular), it’s because we’ve never submitted for an award.
Speaking of submitting and winning awards, more than 800 people gathered in San Francisco in January to pay tribute to 176 Good Food Award winners. Honored by sustainable food leaders Alice Waters, Nell Newman and Slow Food Founder Carlo Petrini, Ninkasi Brewing Co. was among 14 awarded for producing a sustainably crafted and flavorful beer — Dawn of the Red, Red India Pale Ale.
In a blind tasting held last September, a panel of 12, including distinguished beer writers and brewers, sampled and scored each of this year’s beer entries. Paired with a questionnaire, each finalist was subsequently ranked on an in-depth analysis of its sustainability efforts — ranging from ingredients used to its relationships with consumers, suppliers and community.
“This year’s winners represent the forefront of American craft food, making products that are delicious, respectful of the environment and connected to communities and cultural traditions,” stated the Good Food Awards Announcement.
Organized by Seedling Projects, this year’s Good Food Awards received 1,937 entries from 33 states. The awards honored the 176 medalists, including crafters in the 11 categories of beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, honey, oils, pickles, preserves and spirits.
“Twenty years ago, it took traveling across the globe to encounter something so exquisite that it jolted me into seeing the world with new eyes,” said Good Food Awards Founder Sarah Weiner. “Now, you are giving people a taste of how good life can be right here on our own soil…changing America’s definition of Good Food.”
At each step of the process, from raw ingredients to delivering a perfect pint, Ninkasi has definitely committed itself to supporting community and decreasing its impact on the environment. Every batch of Ninkasi beer is brewed with local ingredients (when possible) and are GMO-free. The brewery forgoes filtering by using a centrifuge for clarification, making for a lineup of Vegan-friendly craft beers. On the brewery floor, recycling, upcycling and waste reduction programs keep the brewery continuously focused on making sustainable choices. New LEED-designed buildings also help create a suitably-minded culture.
Social sustainability is also a core focus for the brewery. Its Beer is Love donations program supports non-profits throughout each state where its beer is sold. To date, its program has supported over 800 non-profit organizations, donating more than 400 barrels of beer annually to these organizations.