There’s no doubt that John Pinkerton likes beer. As brewmaster and owner of Moon River Brewing Company, Pinkerton serves as the ambassador of local beer in Savannah – it’s the only local brewery in the city.
Opened to the public in 1999, the brewery was voted #28 by BeerAdvocate on its list of Top 50 American Brewpubs in 2003. And in 2010, Pinkerton proved his mettle when the brewery won a Gold Medal for its Rosemary India Pale Ale in the “Herb and Spice or Chocolate Beer” category at Denver’s Great American Beer Festival.
Pinkerton was recently selected a finalist in the GRA’s 2012 GRACE Awards Innovator category and is a recipient of the Savannah Craft Brew Festival’s Pioneer Award.
“I see brewpubs really leading the charge in the craft brew industry because we are the interface between the consumer and the breweries, more so than the breweries themselves,” Pinkerton says. “Most people have their experience with the breweries when they go to the store and buy their product off the shelf. Whereas with brewpubs, you’re right there where they make the beers, you’re often in the position to talk to brewers, and it has a very strong, local cultural factor.”
For nearly 20 years, Pinkerton has worked in every aspect of operations, both in brewpubs and in regional-scale production breweries. Over the years, he’s also established a sense of leadership and service to the craft-brewing industry. He was a founding member of the Rubber Boot Society’s steering committee (a Mid-Atlantic brewer’s guild), as well as a longtime member of the Brewers Association. He also helped establish the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild in 2010 and is currently serving as president of the organization.
He frequently serves as a judge for regional and national beer competitions, and he also volunteers his expertise for conferences and festivals.
Pinkerton was instrumental in getting HB 472, the Brewpub Bill, passed this past legislative session, an initiative the GRA worked on and supported. It increases the amount of beer brewpubs can produce annually from 5,000 to 10,000 barrels and allows sales to distributors.