SOURCE: Firestone Walker Brewing Company

April 19, 2006 15:16 ET

Firestone Walker Repeats as "Champion Brewery" at World Beer Cup

California Brewery Earns Top Honors Again at Prestigious International Beer Competition

PASO ROBLES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 19, 2006 -- Firestone Walker Brewing Company and Master Brewer Matt Brynildson this week were named "Champion Brewery and Brewmaster" for the second time in a row at the World Beer Cup, a prestigious international beer competition featuring more than 500 breweries and 2,000 beers.

Firestone Walker's champion awards fall under the broad and highly competitive category of Mid-Size Brewing Company, which includes breweries that produce anywhere between 15,000 barrels and 2 million barrels annually.

According to the Brewers Association, a national trade group: "California brewers led American dominance of the 2006 World Beer Cup, taking 10 percent of all medals and two of five Champion Brewery and Brewmaster awards."

Added David Walker, proprietor of Firestone Walker Brewing Company, "It's a great honor to have the quality of our beers recognized by our peers in the international brewing community, in the company of the greatest beers from around the world."

The World Beer Cup is held every two years. Firestone Walker and Brynildson were also named Champion Brewery and Brewmaster at the 2004 World Beer Cup.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company was founded in Santa Barbara County in 1996. The brewery is located in Paso Robles in the heart of California's Central Coast wine country. Firestone Walker also operates a restaurant and taproom in Buellton in Santa Barbara County.

Brynildson attended the 2006 World Beer Cup, which was held in Seattle, Washington and culminated in a gala awards dinner on April 14. The competition included 2,221 entries from 540 breweries in 56 countries. The judging panel included 109 brewers and beer experts from 18 countries, with 54 judges coming from outside the United States. Judging is done "blind" so that judges do not know the identity of the beers or what breweries are entered into the competition.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company earned a total of five medals at the 2006 World Beer Cup, including gold medals for its Firestone Pale Ale in the category of American Style Pale Ale and IPA Nectar in the category of American-Style Strong Pale Ale. Only one gold medal was awarded per category. The gold medal for Firestone Pale Ale follows a gold medal for the same beer at the 2004 World Beer Cup.

"This achievement is a result of to the incredible group of people that we have assembled in our brewery," Brynildson said. "Brewing at this level is clearly a team sport and their accomplishment is something the Central Coast should be very proud of."

Please visit www.WorldBeerCup.org for more information on the World Beer Cup.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company is the brewer of Firestone Walker Fine Ales and Nectar Ales. Founded in 1996 on California's Central Coast, Firestone Walker Brewing Company is a regional brewery committed to quality, innovation and tradition. Firestone Walker Brewing Company remains the only American brewery to ferment beer in a union of oak barrels, a classic British brewing method that dates back to the mid 19th century. Firestone Walker Brewing Company was named "Champion Brewery" for the category of Mid-Size Brewing Company at both the 2006 World Beer Cup and 2004 World Beer Cup, and was also named "Mid-Size Brewing Company of The Year" at the 2003 Great American Beer Festival.

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