In late September of 2011, Oxford University Press published its long-awaited The Oxford Companion to Beer, a weighty, almost 1,000 pages long, alphabetically organized work on almost anything anyone would ever want to know about beer—about its styles, ingredients, brewing techniques, history, economics, politics, and overall place in the social fabric of societies all around the globe.
Some four years in the making, the “The Companion” was advertized as the most comprehensive book on beer ever published. It was edited by Brooklyn brewmaster Garrett Oliver and German-American brew industry consultant and author Horst Dornbusch. It features more than 160 experts, prominent among them Thomas Kraus-Weyermann as the only maltster-contributor, from two dozen countries, covering more than 1,100 subjects.
For Oxford University Press, the new “Companion” became an instant commercial success, with the first and second printings already sold out in pre-publication orders. Though on the market for only the last three months of 2011, strong consumer demand propelled The Oxford Companion to Beer to a third-place finish in the category “Cooking, Food & Wine” on the Amazon bestseller list for the entire year 2011. This was good news for the publisher, who functions as a not-for profit entity supporting the educational mission of Oxford University in Great Britain. However, as the book was steadily clocking hoped-for sales, a few forces of quite another sort were quietly and unexpectedly gathering momentum—in the realm of honors and awards!
In publishing, it has always been an unquestioned truth that one of the world’s most prestigious international culinary book awards, the annual Glasgow-based André Simon Award, in the category “Drinks,” was the natural preserve of authors writing about wine. To everybody’s surprise, however, the winner for 2011, announced on March 15, 2012, was not about the noble quaff from grapes, but about beer. Indeed, the top honor went to…The Oxford Companion to Beer (see http://andresimon.co.uk)!
Back on its home turf in the United States, too, The Oxford Companion to Beer is now poised to collect honors, as it is currently one of only three finalists nominated for the James Beard Award for books published in English, in 2011, in the category “Beverage” (see http://jamesbeard.org). Many professionals in the hospitality industry consider the James Beard Awards the culinary equivalent of the Oscars. The James Beard Foundation will announce its winners on May 4, 2012 in New York City.
Even in France, The Oxford Companion to Beer has managed to garner acclaim: It snatched up the coveted first prize in the category “Best Beer Book in the World” at the 17th Gourmand World Cookbook Awards held during the Paris Cookbook Fair 2012 (see http://www.cookbookfair.com),
The quick sales success of the “Companion” followed by impressive wins at the André Simon and Gourmand awards and a nomination for the James Beard Award is further proof, if one were needed, that beer—especially since the renaissance of complex, flavorful craft brews during the past three decades—has finally reclaimed its traditional status as a sophisticated beverage at the table of humanity.
With the release of The Oxford Companion to Beer, Oxford University Press has completed its triptych of authoritative and highly successful culinary reference works, the other two being The Oxford Companion to Food and The Oxford Companion to Wine. Just like these two “Companions,” the new one about beer is sure to remain a standard “go-to” guide for beer professionals and beer lovers alike, for decades to come.
Weyermann® is proud to have contributed some 30 entries by Thomas Kraus-Weyermann to this colossal and already influential work, and we feel especially honored that “Weyermann® Malt,” written by Dick Cantwell of the Elysian Brewing Company in Seattle, Washington, is a featured entry in it. Being included as both a contributor and a subject in such a comprehensive reference work is an affirmation of the universal regard, which the Weyermann® Malting Company has earned for quality, service, and innovation in all malt matters, around the world, over the more than 130 years of the company’s history! We heartily thank all authors of the “Companion” for the enormous contributions they have made to the dissemination of international beer knowledge; and our hearty congratulations go especially the two editors for their unique and outstanding achievement. Your awards and accolades are well deserved!
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