There’s no denying the James Beard Foundation Awards are a really big deal in the food and beverage industry. Some call them the Oscars of the food world. It’s a great honor for any person or business to be nominated and recognized by a panel of judges that includes more than 300 previous James Beard Restaurant & Chef Award winners.
The Outstanding Bar Program award recognizes restaurants or bars that “demonstrate excellence in cocktail, spirits, and/or beer service.” The 2016 list of 20 semifinalists includes:
The Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional award recognizes a person who has made “a significant national impact on the restaurant industry.” This year’s nominees include:
Mannie Berk, Rare Wine Co., Brisbane, Calif.
Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, Dela.
Wayne Carpenter, Skagit Valley Malting, Burlington, Wash.
Vinnie Cilurzo, Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Ron Cooper, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, Ranchos de Taos, N.M.
Rutger de Vink, RdV, Delaplane, Va.
Diane Flynt, Foggy Ridge Cider, Dugspur, Va.
Miljenko Grgich, Grgich Hills Estate, Rutherford, Calif.
Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, Evil Twin Brewing, Brooklyn, N.Y. Charles Joly, Crafthouse, Chicago
Jim Koch, The Boston Beer Company, Boston
Manfred Krankl, Sine Qua Non, Oak View, Calif.
Drew Kulsveen, Willett Distillery, Bardstown, Ky.
Ted Lemon, Littorai Wines, Sebastopol, Calif.
Steve Matthiasson, Matthiasson Wines, Napa, Calif.
Steve McCarthy, Clear Creek Distillery, Portland, Ore.
Aldo Sohm, Zalto Glass, New York City
Rob Tod, Allagash Brewing Company, Portland, Maine
Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, Ky. Lance Winters, St. George Spirits, Alameda, Calif.
In the next round of balloting, the five semifinalists with the most votes become the finalists, announced in March. After a third and final vote, winners are announced at a gala awards ceremony in May; this year’s festivities will be held in Chicago.