Tom McCormick entered the craft brewing industry in 1982, working on a start-up microbrewery in the Sierra foothills. Laughed out of banks and avoided by friends and family, it was a start-up that never started up due to lack of financing. During that time, he visited every craft brewery in the western United States and Canada – all eight of them. He also completed the Intensive Brewing Studies program at UC Davis.
Prompted by craft brewers at the time who could not get distributors to carry their “odd” microbrewed beers, Tom founded McCormick Beverage Company in 1984, carrying only authentic, handcraft beer. Servicing the Sacramento and Lake Tahoe region, it was one of the first beer wholesalers in the country to sell exclusively craft beer. McCormick Beverage Co. helped to pioneer the craft beer industry in the early years.
After selling his distributorship in 1994, he created a craft beer educational program for major-brand wholesalers, which he conducted on-site across the country. He also taught classes at the American Brewers Guild, UC Davis Extension and consulted for numerous craft breweries, importers and wholesalers. In 1997, he co-founded Panarama Brewing Co., producers of Wolaver’s Organic Ales. He later became editor of the online industry newsletter BeerWeek and helped to develop the leading industry resource website ProBrewer.com, which he continues to administrator today.
In 2005, he became the executive director of the California Craft Brewers Association where he still hangs his hat.