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Wynkoop's Beerdrinker of the Year - 2011

Beerdrinker of the Year from Wynkoop Brewing

(Denver, Colorado) – Phil Farrell, a Cumming, Georgia commercial pilot, homebrewer, beer judge and four-time Beerdrinker of the Year finalist, won Wynkoop Brewing Company’s 2011 Beerdrinker of the Year title yesterday. Farrell finally won the title in a 2-hour finals event held before a raucous, standing-room-only crowd at Denver, Colorado's Wynkoop Brewing Company. A popular attendee at numerous US beer events and a well-traveled beer lover (he has tasted beer in every country in Europe, all 50 states and every US territory), Farrell ended a run of three finals appearances that left him short of the crown.

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“This is great!” exclaimed Farrell on the announcement of his win, which triggered a roar of approval from the audience. “If anybody wakes me up I’ll kick their butt. This is a dream come true.”  Farrell thanked his tough 2011 challengers (James Clark of Springfield, Virginia and Mike Dixon of Wake Forrest, North Carolina) and his beer-supportive wife, Suzie Farrell.

He also thanked the nation’s beer community for welcoming him and indulging his love of beer and its culture. “I’m so glad to be in this family of beer, everyone has so much passion,” Farrell said. “Beer is great, but beer people are greater.”  Farrell’s home beer bar is Five Seasons North in Alpharetta, GA.

In addition to unmatched beer lover glory, Farrell wins free beer for life at the Wynkoop Brewing Company, $250 worth of beer at Five Seasons North and clothing proclaiming him the 2011 Beerdrinker of the Year. His name will be engraved on Wynkoop’s Beerdrinker of the Year trophy.

This year Farrell won over the contest’s wigged & robed judges with a mix of correct answers to questions, impressive blind judging of beers, an opening statement highlighting his efforts on behalf of beer, and a good dose of humor.

His closing statement was a parody of Bill Joel’s “Piano Man” renamed “Chicken Man.” The lyrics were sung from the perspective of Farrell’s constant companion at beer events, a rubber chicken, bemoaning Farrell’s string of previous finals losses. (Joel’s line “When I wore a younger man’s clothes” became “Back when I had feathers for clothes.”)

“This is a very tough title to win,” says Wynkoop’s Marty Jones, organizer of the search and the emcee of the finals event. “It takes a ton of beer knowledge and beer-tasting experience just to get here. But to win the crown you’ve got to strike the perfect blend of beer knowledge, passion, ambassadorship and humor. This year Phil hit that chord perfectly.”

After the contest Farrell offered words of encouragement to his fellow finalists. “You are now in a very elite club,” he told them. After missing the title his first time, he noted, "there was no shortage of encouragement from industry folks, Beerdrinkers and all the former winners I ever ran into, all wishing me luck next time.”

He offered to give Clark and Dixon advice for next year’s contest, but with a disclaimer. “View any advice from me,” Farrell said, “in light of the fact that I’m retiring from Beerdrinker competition with a .250 lifetime batting average!”

In his Beerdrinker of the Year resume, Farrell detailed how his basement beer pub features six taps, three refrigerators and a 15-gallon brewing system. He also noted that in 2010 he visited 32 states and 18 countries in search of beer, and logged 11,000 miles on his family’s RV.

His philosophy about beer includes these thoughts: “Fear no beer. All of my “beeroes” (beer heroes) were fearless. In my short beer lifetime, a wasteland has been turned into a paradise…and I live in the best beer country in the history of the planet. Beer helps connect people. Beer is the greatest gift ever given to the human race and is meant to be shared with others.”   


2010 Beerdrinker of the Year
Bill Howell
Sterling, Alaska


2009 Beerdrinker of the Year
Cody Christman
Golden, Colorado

2008 Beerdrinker of the Year

Matt Venzke
Yorktown, Virginia

2007 Beerdrinker of the Year
Diane Catanzaro

2006 Beerdrinker of the Year
Tom Schmidlin
Seattle, Washington
Home Brewpub: Big Time Brewery & Alehouse in Seattle, Washington

2005 Beerdrinker of the Year
Tom Ciccateri
Alexandria, Virginia
Home brewpub:  Founders Restaurant & Brewing Company in Alexandria, Virginia.

2004 Beerdrinker of the Year
John Marioni
Seattle, Washington
Home Brewpub: McMenamins in Mill Creek, Washingtson.

2003 Beerdrinker of the Year
Ray McCoy
Clemmons, North Carolina
Home Brewpub: Liberty Steakhouse & Brewery, High Point, NC

2002 Beerdrinker of the Year
Gary Steinel
White Plains, New York
Home Brewpub: Southampton Publick House, Southampton, NY

2001 Beerdrinker of the Year
Cornelia Corey
Clemmons, North Carolina
Home Brewpub: Liberty Steakhouse & Brewery, High Point, NC

2000 Beerdrinker of the Year
Steve Pawlowski
Roselle Park, New Jersey
Home Brewpub: J.J. Bitting Brewing Company, Woodbridge, NJ

1999 Beerdrinker of the Year
James Robertson
Pomona, California
Home Brewpub: Westwood Brewing Company, Westwood, CA

1998 Beerdrinker of the Year
Bobby Bush, Jr.
Hickory, North Carolina
Home Brewpub: Olde Hickory Brewery, Hickory, NC

1997 Beerdrinker of the Year
Jack McDougall
Cranford, NJ
Home Brewpub: J.J. Bitting Brewing Company, Woodbridge, NJ



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