Founder & President, American Distilling Institute
Bill Owens’ love of craft beverages goes all the way back to when he experimented with his first fermentation at age 14. Though that first batch of wine was not drinkable, undaunted, he began brewing "malt extract" beer in college. Post-college, he joined the Peace Corps then studied photo journalism and worked for a small town newspaper. During this time, he produced four photographic books: “Suburbia,” “Our Kind Of People,” “Working: I Do It For The Money” and “Leisure,” receiving a Guggenheim in photography in 1975. He returned to brewing in the ‘60s, writing “Draft Beer in 10 Days.” In 1972, he opened Buffalo Bill's Brewery, the first brewpub in the USA, followed by Brewpub on the Green and The Bison Brewing Company. He also founded American Brewer magazine and Beer the Magazine. In 2002, he founded the American Distilling Institute, noticing a lack of national community in the craft distilling world. Today the institute has more than 600 members and hosts an annual conference drawing nearly 1,000 attendees.