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When I heard my name I was honestly surprised.”

This was Rob, our founder/brewer, 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.”

Rob Tod founded Allagash Brewing Company in 1995 as a brewery dedicated to Belgian-style beer. Our 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). Since he started brewing it in 1995, Allagash White, our flagship 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.

A look at our tasting room, circa 2019, when we all celebrated Rob Tod for winning the James Beard award

The brewery crew surprised Rob with a toast to his award.

“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 Rob.

Over the years, we’ve developed a following for our wild, sour, and spontaneously fermented beer. In fact, our Coolship beers were 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 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.”

So why do we think Rob won? Because, in our humble opinion, Rob is awesome. As an independent brewery, Rob has made sure we give back to the local community that has given us so much. We donate 1% of sales to organizations that support people and the planet. We’re also focused on sustainability—99% of our waste is sidestreamed away from landfills. We have a green team of brewery employees that brainstorms new ways for us to use less and brew more efficiently.

Rob is also constantly on the lookout for ways to make Allagash a great place to work. And we can say he’s been successful. Allagash is honored to have been featured as one of Maine’s best places to work since 2013.

Brett has been a part of the Allagash Marketing Team since 2016. He's a big fan of sharing the many stories Allagash has to offer through blogs, newsletters, as the host of their podcast, and in intermittent appearances on social media.