Hangar 24 brewer earns top industry honor
Kevin Wright scores prestigious JS Ford Award from London-based IBD
REDLANDS - Hangar 24 Brewery is going global, far from content to take the local beer scene by storm. Owner Ben Cook is proud to announce that Hangar 24 brewer Kevin Wright has earned the JS Ford Award, given annually to the earner of the top score in the London-based Institute of Brewing and Distilling's general certificate in brewing exam.
"This validates our opinion that of the highly qualified candidates for the recently-filled brewer position, Kevin was the right choice," Cook said. "He's meticulous and has a sharp eye for detail, which has shown in the product he has produced since coming aboard."
The award is open to candidates around the world who took the exam this past year. Wright is a product of the UC Davis master brewer program, as was 2008 JS Ford Award winner Donald Oliver. In 2007, the honor was shared between brewers from the UK and South Africa.
"I think it says a lot, not only about the program at Davis but the American brewing scene that people are willing to put forth the effort to achieve international acclaim," Wright said. "It's also a good sign for the American craft brewing industry as a whole."
A home brewer in Milwaukee before going to the Davis program, Wright has been a brewer at Hangar 24 since June, working with the three-member team that produces Orange Wheat, Pale Ale, Alt-Bier, Helles Lager and IPA.
Wright, 27, is in his first full-time job in the brewing industry. He is a product of the University of Wisconsin's biomedical engineering department. He also worked a two-week internship this past April at Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido. He currently resides in Redlands.
Originally started in the late 1800s under the name "The Laboratory Club," the Institute of Brewing and Distilling came about as a way for the many brewers in Great Britain to discuss their craft and share trade secrets if they were so inclined.
JS Ford Award winners earn a prize of £1,000, to go along with an engraved "quaich," which is essentially a two-handled Scottish drinking cup. Wright will be feted at an undetermined IBD function in London. While the accommodations are paid for, Hangar 24 Brewery will spring for the airfare.
Cook is also a product of the UC Davis master brewer program.