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Firestone Walker gets CalTravel award 

Firestone Walker Brewing Company CalTravel

From left, brothers-in-law Adam Firestone and David Walker founded the brewing company in May 1995.

A Paso Robles business — Firestone Walker Brewing Company — will be honored at the 33rd annual California Travel Summit, June 17 to 19 in Monterey from the California Travel Association. The 2015 CalTravel Tourism awards recognize those who have made a dramatic impact for their respective area in the past year through innovation, awareness, creativity or stewardship. According to a news release, CalTravel seeks nominations from its members for outstanding individuals and organizations within the industry to be considered for its awards.

“This year’s recipients of the CalTravel Tourism Awards are deserving of special recognition for their contributions to California tourism over the past year,” California Travel Association President and CEO Barb Newton said. “The work and accomplishments of these individuals and organizations play an integral part in the overall health and prosperity of our industry.”

The travel organization recognizes a California brew master’s product as a brewery’s contribution to developing the California tourism brand. According to CalTravel, the recipient of this award “reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of their craft and their product achieves a unique and enviable position of creating awareness of the California brand.”

“It came out of the blue,” co-founder David Walker said. “We had no idea people were watching… We feel pretty honored we made the grade.” He said that either he or his brother-in-law, Adam Firestone, will attend the awards ceremony in June.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company was founded in 1996 by brothers-in-law, Firestone and Walker, in Santa Barbara. Walker said they came up with the idea of the brewing company in May 1995, nearly 20 years ago. The brewery was relocated to Paso Robles in 2001. Today, the company has brewing facilities in Paso Robles and Buellton. The one in Buellton, Walker said, makes wild ales with wild yeast. “We like to keep those separate,” he said.

Firestone Walk Brewing is also building a new brewery — a small one, Walker said, called Propagator — in Venice, CA. “Basically, [it’s] to take Paso Robles in a little more meaningful fashion to the South California region,” Walker said. The company also has two Taproom restaurants, one in Paso Robles and one in Buellton.

This year’s CalTravel Tourism award winners include:

  • CalTravel Chef/Restaurateur/Food Artisan of the Year: Chef Justin Cogley of Aubergine Restaurant Monterey Bay
  • CalTravel Winery of the Year: Sevtap Winery in Solvang
  • CalTravel Brewery of the Year: Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Paso Robles
  • CalTravel Travel Steward of the Year: Ted Balestreri, chairman/CEO of Cannery Row Company
  • CalTravel Norman F. Clark Tourism Champion of the Year: Cirque du Soleil
  • CalTravel Excellence in Tourism Advocacy of the Year Award: United States Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA 20th District)
  • CalTravel Cultural Tourism of the Year Award: Laura Zucker, executive director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission


CalTravel 30 and Under Award: Recognizes individuals, 30 years of age or under, who have contributed through their individual efforts, to the promotion of travel, tourism and hospitality in California. Recipients are:

  • Kristin Wing of the Anaheim Visitors Conference Bureau
  • Elizabeth King of Macy’s
  • Citlalie Gallegos of Peterson Automotive Museum
  • Kirstin Neish of Universal Studios Hollywood
  • Alex Lopez, a tourism marketing consultant
  • Rand Hardy of Pier 39
  • Kylee Jepsen of Visit San Luis Obispo County
  • Lauren Ong of Pier 39
  • Alissa Fiset of Pier 39
  • Jennifer Meneses of the Oxnard Visitor Center

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