The founder of Portland’s Allagash Brewing Co. won a prestigious James Beard Foundation Award on Monday night.

Rob Tod, founder of Allagash Brewing Co. in Portland, which brews Belgian-inspired beers, was named the top professional in the category of Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Producer, according to a James Beard Foundation tweet posted just after 7:30 p.m.

The awards were announced during a series of tweets from the awards ceremony at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago on Monday night.

Tod, who attended the ceremony, could not be reached for comment by phone, but texted a brief reaction: “Yes, it’s a huge honor and never would have been possible without the hard work and passion of the Allagash crew.”

Tod’s employees tweeted their congratulations.

“Everyone at Allagash agrees, Rob Tod is super cool. From literally welding together our brewery in 1995 to creating Allagash White, to inspiring us everyday, we agree that he has earned this Beard Foundation award.”


Tod competed against five other finalists who demonstrated “consistency and exceptional skills in his or her craft.” He also was nominated for the award in 2017.

The James Beard Awards are known as the Oscars of the food world. There are Beard awards for chefs and restaurants as well as for journalism and broadcast media, books, restaurant design and graphics, leadership and lifetime achievement.

Beard was a legendary cook, cookbook author and TV personality. He died in 1985 and the James Beard Foundation was created in his memory.

Though dozens of Mainers have been nominated as semifinalists and finalists for Beard awards over the years, only a small group of people have actually won in any category.

Five Maine chefs won Best Chef Northeast, a list that includes Sam Hayward of Fore Street in 2004; Rob Evans former owner of Hugo’s in Portland in 2009; Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier of the former Arrows in Ogunquit in 2010; and Melissa Kelly of Primo in Rockland in 2013.

Tod was the only Mainer to advance to Monday’s finals in any category. Earlier this year, the James Beard Foundation announced that nine Maine chefs and restaurants, including the Palace Diner in Biddeford, had been selected as semifinalists. Finalists were announced on March 27.

Tod founded Allagash Brewing in 1995. He called the nomination “a huge honor” and credited his employees for bringing national recognition to himself and to the brewery.

Allagash is one of the the largest breweries in Maine, producing 865,584 gallons of beer in 2016. Its famous White — a Belgian-style wheat beer — is a staple of craft beer menus around the country, and it also makes several seasonal releases, a spontaneously fermented series of beers and many aged ales.

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