Photo courtesy of the James Beard Foundation
Lance Winters, master distiller at Alameda's St. George Spirits
, has just been nominated
for a James Beard Foundation Award in the Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Producer category.
It's his fifth nomination.
Having previously worked as a US Navy nuclear engineer, Winters joined St. George in 1996 after offering its founder Jörg Rupf a sample bottle of his homemade whiskey.
Since then, Winters has sparked attention worldwide for such distinctive spirits as St. George Single Malt Whiskey, St. George Absinthe Verte, St. George California Agricole Rum, the St. George gins (Botanivore Gin, Terroir Gin, and Dry Rye Gin), the St. George vodkas (All Purpose Vodka, California Citrus Vodka, and Green Chile Vodka), Baller Single Malt Whiskey, and Bruto Americano.
On May 4 — during what will be remembered as one of the restaurant industry's weirdest and most challenging phases ever — the James Beard Foundation livestreamed via its Twitter account this year's nominations
in sixty categories spanning restaurateurship, restaurant design, and culinary media.
James Beard awards are among the world's most prestigious food-and-drink-related honors.
Founded in 1986 to honor the pioneering celebrity chef, cookbook author, TV personality, and cooking teacher for which it is named, the nonprofit outfit has halted its usual springtime activities to focus instead on the James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund, which to date has disbursed more than $4 million to independent, locally owned restaurants nationwide.