BA honors McAuliffe, Brynildson, Hancock

The Brewers Association honored a brewing pioneer Thursday during the opening session of the Craft Brewers Conference in Austin, Texas.

The BA presented its Recognition Award to Jack McAuliffe, founder of New Albion Brewing Co. Don Barkley of Mendocino Brewing, who worked for McAuliffe at New Albion, received the award on McAuliffe’s behalf.

McAuliffe opened New Albion – the first microbrewery built from scratch – in 1977. It operated until 1982.

Keynote speaker Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing also paid tribute to McAuliffe. He pointed out that he has a sign from New Albion hanging above the window at his brewpub that looks into a room where a variety of beers are aging in wine barrels, and talked about innovation that has been a cornerstone of American brewing for the last 30 years.

“Over the next few days here at the Craft Brewers Conference, I’d like you to think about innovation,” he said. “But think about it from a different angle. Let’s not forget the pioneers in our industry who were innovative for just having the guts to get their breweries open in a time when there was no access to market, no equipment suppliers, and there were few, if any, malt and hop suppliers who were willing to deal with a small brewer.”

The BA presented the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing to Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Brynildson received this year’s award for demonstrating creativity, excellence in brewing and substantial contributions to the craft brewing community.

Looking at the list of previous Schehrer Award winners, Brynildson called those brewers “my true heroes.”

He concluded a short acceptance speech by saying, “Brew true to your heart. Brew with your heart and soul.”

The Brewers Association presented the F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry award to George Hancock, chair of Pyramid Brewing Co. and past president of the Washington Brewers Guild. Hancock helped establish the Washington Beer Commission and heads the commission.

“I accept on behalf of the small brewers of Washington,” Hancock said upon receiving the award.

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