Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione has been named a finalist for a prestigious James Beard Foundation award as Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional.
This year marks four straight years Calagione has been named a finalist in the category.
“I probably sound like Susan Lucci, but I do know it’s an honor to be nominated again as a finalist for a James Beard Award. It’s truly a testament to the world class work my 200 coworkers do each day to put Dogfish on the map as an innovative beer, food and spirits company,” he said.
Calagione said the most rewarding aspect of the nominations is showing Dogfish has done its small part in bringing flavorful beers into the top of the culinary world.
In February, Calagione and Dogfish Head’s Rehoboth Beach brewpub received the Business of the Year Award from the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Speaking of both honors, Calagione said, “They are equally meaningful with the two audiences that are most dear to our company – our neighbors, entrepreneurial peers and patrons here in the beach area and the most respected chefs and writers throughout the country.”
While the chance to go to New York and mingle with the best of the food and beverage industry is heady stuff, Calagione said,“The best part of going is, honestly, sneaking up to one of my favorite cities for a glamorous date night with my wife Mariah and drinking a 90 Minute or two on the Amtrak train on our way up."
The Beard awards come during what is a very busy time for Dogfish. Besides his usual dogged promotion of the brand, Calagione is also involved in renovating the Dogfish Inn in Lewes and the recently acquired Finbar in Rehoboth. Calagione said the inn is under construction and would be open in late spring or early summer.
Dogfish is still in the study phase of what to do with the Finbar property next to the Rehoboth brewpub, he said. Dogfish Head finalized its purchase of Finbar Dec. 30.
Calagione is up against fellow brewer Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery as well as Ron Cooper of Del Maguey Single Village Mescal in Ranchos de Taos, N.M.; Harlen Wheatley of Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Ky.; and spirits educator David Wondrich of Brooklyn. The awards will be announced Monday, May 5 at New York City’s Lincoln Center.