The Brewers Association honored three of its own Thursday as the Craft Brewers Conference began in Chicago.
The Brewers Association Recognition Award went to Larry Bell, founder of Bell’s Brewery. Bell started Kalamazoo Brewing in 1984, later renaming it Bell’s. It was the first craft brewery in the eastern half of the United States.
“Larry is a leader in our industry known for his innovative beers and the passion he brings to craft brewing,” said Brewers Association Board of Directors Chair Nick Matt, CEO of Matt Brewing Company.
Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada was awarded the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing. Grossman received this year’s award for his leadership in technical brewing science for craft brewers. He remains deeply involved in technical brewing projects at Sierra Nevada and has led numerous initiatives in the area of sustainability and beer quality.
“Ken Grossman founded Sierra Nevada Brewing Company 30 years ago based on one principle, to make the highest quality beer in America,” Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing Co. wrote in a nominating document. “I think Ken’s never-ending quest in life is to make Sierra Nevada’s beers even better than they already are.”
The BA presented the F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award to Steve Hindy, chairman and president of The Brooklyn Brewery. Hindy recently testified in a congressional hearing to communicate how state franchise laws can hinder the ability for small brewers to grow their businesses and how self-distribution is important to many small brewers to develop their access to market.