And the Winner is…
Jun 06, 2019
“When I heard my name I was honestly surprised.”
This was the reaction of Rob Tod, the founder of Allagash Brewing Company, on hearing his name announced as the winner of the 2019 James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Beer, Or Spirits Professional. “I hadn’t even prepared a speech.”
Tod founded Allagash in 1995 as a brewery dedicated to Belgian-style beer. The brewery is still in the same corner of Portland, Maine, where he started, but now distributes to seventeen states (CA, CT, DC, GA, IL (Chicagoland only), MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, SC, VA, VT). Its flagship beer, Allagash White, a Belgian-style wheat beer, has won seven gold medals from prestigious competitions like The Great American Beer Festival, World Beer Cup, and European Beer Star Awards.
“On why we were chosen—and I say we intentionally, because this award belongs to the entire brewery—
I would guess it’s our dedication to quality, while still pushing innovation,” said Tod.
The brewery has also developed a reputation for brewing wild, sour, and spontaneously fermented beer. Their series of Coolship beers was actually the first to take the methods and principles behind brewing Lambic—a style of spontaneously fermented beer produced only in the pajottenland region of Belgium—and bring them back to the United States.
“I think a lot of our success comes from the core values we put in place early on at the brewery,” said Tod. “I also think the fact that we’ve stuck to only brewing Belgian-inspired beer has helped us be consistent, while still being able to be really creative in the beer we brew.”
Allagash is an independent brewery that donates 1% of sales to organizations that support people and the planet. It’s also focused on sustainability—99% of the brewery’s waste is sidestreamed away from landfills. Tod has also focused on making the brewery a great place to work: Allagash has been featured as one of Maine’s best places to work from 2013-2018, and on Outside Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work in 2017 and 2018.
ABOUT ALLAGASH BREWING COMPANY
Founded in Portland, Maine, by Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Company is dedicated to crafting the best Belgian-inspired beers in the world. Since 1995, Allagash has focused on giving back to the community—and state—that has supported them along the way.