Frank Kassik says the brewery has come a long way over the past decade, from its humble origins as a Christmas present… Kassik: “It is a completely blind, juried show, where they have runners that come out and collect the beer in non-named containers and they take them back to the judges. Even the runners aren’t allowed to know who the winners are until the very end.” FacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Kassik’s Brewery in Nikiski has become the first brewery to win first place in both the winter seasonal and barleywine categories at the 2017 Great Alaska Beer and Barleywine Festival, held on January 21 in Anchorage. The industry as a whole has been growing in Alaska, even as other sectors of the economy cut jobs and investments. Early numbers from the Alaska Tax Division show Alaskans bought 4.16 million gallons of beer in 2016, from 29 active breweries. That’s an increase from 3.95 million gallons in 2015 and 3.86 million gallons in 2014. The microbrewery took home Gold Pan medals for its Buffalo Head Barley Wine and Barrel Aged Statny Statny. Kassik: “It’s been a great run over the last few years and we just keep swinging and to come home with two medals for this year, and defending our title from last year for the barleywine festival, we’re still very honored.” There were 31 entries in the Barleywine category and 28 entries in the Winter Seasonal category from across the United States.