Craft Beer Luminaries Grab Beard Award Semifinalist Nods

Craft Beer Luminaries Grab Beard Award Semifinalist Nods

While not as high profile as’s Best Beards of Craft Beer, a handful of members of the craft beer community recently snagged spots as semifinalists for the James Beard Awards. The James Beard Foundation is a national non-profit organization with a mission to “celebrate, nurture and preserve America’s diverse culinary heritage and future.” The foundation’s annual awards are described, on their website as, “the highest honor for food and beverage professionals working in North America.”

Finalists in the Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional category include:

In 2012, the category’s name was changed to recognize beer professionals, which is further proof that craft beer is making a mark in the epicurean food community. However, the description (page 9) of the award has not totally been updated to reflect that a beer industry actually exists, “A winemaker, brewer, or spirits professional who has had a significant impact on the wine and spirits industry nationwide.”

Other craft beer-centric semifinalists include:

Outstanding Bar Program

Rising Star Chef of the Year

Final nominations will be announced live on March 18, via twitter, while the James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception will be held May 6. Best of luck to all of the nominees who have made the advancement of craft beer their passions and careers. If you’ve read this entire Banter hoping I would eventually reveal the finalist of’s Best Beards of Craft Beer, you’ll have to wait until next week.

Andy SparhawkAndy Sparhawk, the Brewers Association’s Craft Beer Program Coordinator, is a Certified Cicerone® and BJCP Beer Judge. He lives in Arvada, Colorado where he is a homebrewer and avid craft beer enthusiast. On occasion, Andy is inspired to write on his experiences with craft beer, and if they are not too ridiculous, you might see the results here on