Brewers association

Brewers Association Names 2020 Industry Award Recipients

Oscar Wong (Highland Brewing Co.), Brendan McGivney (Odell Brewing Co.) and Adam DeBower (Austin Beerworks) receive honors

Boulder, Colorado.June 30, 2020 — The Brewers Association (BA) – the nonprofit trade association dedicated to small, independent American craft brewers – today announced the winners of its 2020 industry awards. Three members of the brewing community were recognized and awarded for their dedication and service. The Brewers Association recognizes people who have inspired, championed and innovated within the craft brewing industry since 1987.

The winners were nominated by their peers and determined by vote of committees made up of members of the Brewers Association Board of Directors or past winners of the Innovation Award.

“This year’s winners have elevated craft brewing to new levels of business and brewing innovation, and worked for fair legislative and regulatory treatment for craft brewers,” said Paul Gatza, senior vice president of Professional Brewing Division, Brewers Association.

2020 Industry Awards Winners

Brewers Association Recognition Award

Oscar Wong, founder of Highland Brewing Co. (Asheville, North Carolina)

This award is presented annually to an individual or company whose inspiration, enthusiasm and support has contributed to the craft brewing movement. In 1994, Oscar Wong founded Asheville, North Carolina’s first craft brewery, Highland Brewing Co., kicking off a craft beer renaissance that has transformed the city from a sleepy mountain town to the craft beer capital of the Southeast. Wong is widely recognized as the “Father of Asheville Craft Beer”. In 2019, the brewery celebrated 25 years of quality craft beer and independent family ownership. This year, the brewery will celebrate 80 years of Wongand anniversary and his pioneering spirit, which continues to inspire the local brewing community to this day.

” It’s exaggerated. I am so proud and honored to be part of this distinguished group of recipients,” said Oscar Wong, Founder of Highland Brewing Co. and recipient of the Brewers Association Recognition Award. “It means to me that our little brewery in a sleepy mountain town can be recognized for its role in the great American craft beer movement.”

Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing

Brendan McGivney, Operations Manager at Odell Brewing Co. (Fort Collins, Colorado)

This award is presented in honor of Russell Schehrer of Wynkoop Brewing Company to an individual or company for their innovative contributions to the brewing industry. McGivney worked at Odell Brewery since 1995 and is recognized for helping to develop new hops, building farmer-brewer relationships, participating in the Hops Quality Group, and discovering the innovative “freshly ground” hop process. A hop pioneer in the craft industry, McGivney is responsible for developing brands such as Odell IPA, Drumroll American Pale Ale, Friek, 5 Barrel Pale Ale and Rupture. In addition to helping other breweries with his wisdom, McGivney’s work has given smaller breweries greater access to higher quality hops and new experimental varieties.

FX Matt Defense Industry Award

Adam DeBower, co-founder and COO of Austin Beerworks (Austin, Texas)

This award is named after the late FX Matt of FX Matt Brewing Co. and is given to an individual or company for their contributions and efforts in championing the small brewing industry. In 2019, DeBower, along with other Texas brewers and the Texas Craft Brewers Guild, has succeeded in allowing most brewpubs to sell take-out beer in their drinking places. DeBower currently serves as Legislative Committee Chairman for the Texas Craft Brewers Guild and in 2017 founded CraftPAC, a political action committee dedicated to advancing the rights of Texas craft brewers.

In addition to individual awards for brewers, the Brewers Association also organizes two prestigious national and international brewing competitions – Great American Oktoberfest and beer world cup.

For more information on past winners and nomination information for the 2021 awards, please visit here.

About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association (BA) is the nonprofit trade association dedicated to America’s small, independent brewers, their beers, and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The BA represents more than 5,600 American breweries. The BA Independent Craft Brewer Seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers from small independent craft brewers. The BA organizes events including the beer world cup®, Great American Oktoberfest®, Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America®, FLAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Dining Experience, Homebrew Con, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The new brewer® magazines, and Brewers publications® is the leading publisher of brewing literature in the United States. Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the vibrant world of craft beer at® and on homebrewing via BAs American Homebrew Association® and free Brewing Guru® mobile app. follow us on Facebook, Twitter and instagram.

The Brewers Association is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, orientation or marital/family status. The BA complies with the provisions of Executive Order 13672 and relevant rules, regulations and orders of the Secretary of Labor.