Rob Tod, the founder of Allagash Brewing Co., has been named a finalist for a James Beard Foundation award.

The announcement was made Wednesday in Houston and live streamed on social media platforms.

Tod is a finalist in the Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Producer category. Nominees in this category are professionals who demonstrate “consistency and exceptional skill in his or her craft.”  Tod was also nominated for the prestigious award in 2017.

Tod, who founded Allagash Brewing in 1995, was in Florida visiting his parents when the awards were announced. He heard the news via a text from one of his 140 employees. He called the nomination “a huge honor.”

Rob Tod, the founder of Allagash Brewing Co., was named a finalist for a 2019 James Beard Award on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Allagash Brewing Co.

“The Maine community has just been so supportive of us,” he said. “Everyone at the brewery appreciates it big time. I never would have thought that we’d be recognized like this.”

The brewer gave most of the credit for the award to his employees.


“It’s really the hard work of the whole gang of brewers,” he said. “Everyone is just as passionate about what they do. They’re really the ones that are doing all the heavy lifting and making all the great beer.”

Other nominees in Tod’s category are Cathy Corison of Corison Winery in St. Helena, California; Ann Marshall and Scott Blackwell of High Wire Distilling Co. in Charleston, South Carolina; Steve Matthiasson of  Matthiasson Wines in Napa, California; and Lance Winters of  St. George Spirits in Alameda, California.

Nine chefs, restaurants and other luminaries of the Maine food world were among more than 400 semifinalists in 21 categories named in February. Chefs  from five Maine restaurants were up for Best Chef: Northeast this year, but none of them made the cut to finalist.

More than 600 judges from across the country – including restaurant critics, food and wine editors and past winners – determined the final nominees, about five or six in each category.

The winners will be named at a gala in Chicago on May 6. Tod was unable to attend the ceremony the last time he was nominated because of a previous commitment, but said he hopes to make it to Chicago this year.

“If I don’t have another commitment,” he said, “I’d love to be able to go.”



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