I am always happy to claim Stephen Beaumont as a friend. That's him on the left, with another good friend, Mike Gates, hanging out in my backyard back in August of '07, helping me drink up my leftover beer. I've known Steve for, oh, maybe 14 years, been to Germany and Belgium with him, hit some fun spots in his hometown of Toronto with him, and helped him celebrate his wedding last summer.
But today I'm very pleased to claim his as a colleague. Stephen Beaumont has received the "Raising the Bar" award from Cheers magazine, an award for individuals "who have made a noteworthy and sustained contribution to the world of beverage alcohol." Stephen didn't get this just for writing. He's been consulting and advising major restaurant and hotel chains on their beer programs for a number of years. In fact, the craft beer program at the ESPN Zone that I wrote about last year as a great example of how craft beer is getting in everywhere, the program that also won an award for Best Chain Beer Program? Built for them by Stephen Beaumont. This is a well-deserved award indeed.
Like I said, I'm pleased to say Stephen is my colleague. And my friend. Congratulations, my friend!