Ripped (literally) straight from the Wynkoop press release:
Matt Venzke of Yorktown, Virginia Wins 2008
Beerdrinker of the Year Contest
Virginia man wins Wynkoop Brewing Company’s 12th annual search for America’s ultimate beer fiend
(Denver, Colorado) – Matt Venzke, an avid beer lover from Yorktown, Virginia, has been crowned the winner of Wynkoop Brewing Company’s 2008 Beerdrinker of the Year contest.
Venzke, an aircraft maintenance manager, won the title in the hotly
contested National Finals on Saturday, February 23, at Wynkoop Brewing Company. This was his fourth time at entering the contest, he was a semifinalist last year.
“For four years,” Venzke said, “it’s been a dream of mine to win the Beerdrinker of the Year title. It’s great to now be recognized by the judges and previous winners. I’m proud to be among this very select group of beer lovers.”
“I feel like I’ve been given a flag to carry,” Venzke adds, “for all of the great things beer has to offer.”
Venzke’s home beer bar is The Taphouse on Queensway in Hampton, Virginia. He is the second straight Virginia resident to win the competition. (Diane Catanzaro of Norfolk, Virginia was the 2007 Beerdrinker of the Year.)
Venzke beat out finalists J Mark Angelus (of Nehalem, Oregon) and Richard Pedretti-Allen (McKinney, Texas). He landed the title with a combination of impressive beer drinking experiences, humor and beer ambassadorship.
Venzke’s resume boasted of many beer drinking experiences. Venzke has visited 454 breweries in 16 nations and 39 states. Over the past five years, he has recorded tasting notes on over 3200 different beers in 69 different styles.
He logged 3,000 miles in 2007 while traveling to breweries across North America. While stationed in alcohol-free Kuwait on a military deployment a few years ago, Venzke conducted a tasting of 17 non-alcohol beers.
Questions from the Finals judges elicited some revealing info from Venzke. When asked what he’s doing to get around the current ban on carry-on beer for US air travelers, Venzke winkingly cited an upcoming effort to petition US brewers to start packaging beer in 3-ounce portions.
His will, Venzke said, includes instructions for him to be cremated and his ashes used in a beer brewed for his wake. (“I’ve instructed my wife,” Venzke stated, “to tell people at the ceremony, ‘Matt is more a part of you than you think.’”)
The finalists weathered two hours of difficult questions from the judge panel, which included five previous Beerdrinker of the Year winners, Oregon beer writer Lisa Morrison, Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO) beer columnist Jay Dedrick, and Wynkoop head brewer Thomas Larsen.
As the 2008 Beerdrinker of the Year, Venzke wins free beer for life at Wynkoop Brewing Company, a $250 beer tab at the Taphouse on Queensway, and the opportunity to brew a special beer with Larsen for next year’s Beerdrinker of the Year event.
He also won clothing proclaiming him the 2008 Beerdrinker of the Year, a place on Wynkoop’s Beerdrinker of the Year trophy, and the glory that comes with the lofty title of Beerdrinker of the Year.
The resume review panel for the 2008 Beerdrinker of the Year search was comprised of the nation’s top beer writers and beer experts, and previous Beerdrinker of the Year winners.
Wynkoop Brewing Company was founded in 1988 by current Denver mayor John Hickenlooper. One of America’s first and most revered brewpubs, Wynkoop was a major catalyst in the revitalization of the previously neglected Lower Downtown section of Denver.
For interviews with Venzke and more information on Beerdrinker of the Year, contact Marty Jones at 303-860-7448 or firstname.lastname@example.org. (Or you can join us at the Aleuminati and ask him any question directly.)
For more details on the Beerdrinker of the Year search and Wynkoop Brewing Company, visit www.wynkoop.com.