As co-founder and chairman of The Brooklyn Brewery, Steve Hindy ’71, MAT ’73, has helped to galvanize the American craft beer movement. Started in 1987 with Hindy's then-neighbor, Tom Potter, Brooklyn Brewery has become a borough icon and a top name in American craft beer brewing.

Brooklyn Brewery co-founder named Entrepreneur of the Year

Steve Hindy ’71, MAT ’73, a former English teacher and international journalist who co-founded Brooklyn Brewery more than 30 years ago, has been named Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 by Entrepreneurship at Cornell.

Hindy will be honored April 16-17 during Celebration, Entrepreneurship at Cornell’s annual two-day conference in Ithaca.

Hindy founded Brooklyn Brewery in 1987 with neighbor Tom Potter, a former lending officer at New York’s Chemical Bank.

Steve Hindy ’71, MAT ’75

“It’s very special to be honored by your university,” Hindy said. “I’ve always been very proud of having gone to Cornell. Cornell has so many choices and myriad paths you can take, and this one worked out for me in surprising ways I could never have imagined.”

Hindy, who entered Cornell thinking he wanted to build golf courses, ended up with a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in English education. He taught English for a year after graduation but realized the classroom wasn’t for him, so he switched gears into journalism.

He became interested in homebrewing while serving as Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press. From 1979-84, Hindy lived in Beirut and Cairo and covered the hostage crisis in Iran, the Iran-Iraq War, civil wars in Lebanon and Syria, and the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, among other issues.

He was seated behind Egyptian President Anwar Sadat at the 1981 victory parade in Cairo at which Sadat was assassinated.

Hindy learned about homebrewing from U.S. envoys he’d befriended, who were brewing their own beer since alcoholic beverages were banned in the Saudi kingdom.

The Brooklyn Brewery, one of America’s top craft breweries, is the biggest exporter of American-style craft beer and is known for its support of many nonprofit and arts organizations in New York City and around the world.

Hindy is founder of the North Brooklyn Parks Alliance and chairman of the board of Transportation Alternatives, a proponent of bicycling and other alternatives to motor vehicles. He also serves on the boards of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Alliance, Gowanus Canal Conservancy and the Brewers Association, the trade association of America’s craft brewers.

“I’ve always been very proud of having gone to Cornell. Cornell has so many choices and myriad paths you can take, and this one worked out for me in surprising ways I could never have imagined.”

Steve Hindy

Hindy wrote “The Craft Beer Revolution” (2014) and co-wrote “Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery” (2005) with Potter, who left the brewery in 2003 to start New York Distilling Co.

Hindy and his wife, Ellen Foote, a former public middle school principal, live in Brooklyn, New York, and Brooklin, Maine.

The Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year award recognizes a Cornellian who exemplifies entrepreneurial achievement, community service and high ethical standards.

The Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year honor is Cornell’s highest recognition for our entrepreneurial alumni,” said Zach Shulman ’87, J.D. ’90, director of Entrepreneurship at Cornell. “We are delighted that our selection committee chose Steve among an incredible field of nominees.”

Entrepreneurship at Cornell is an innovative, universitywide program supported by every school and college at Cornell and a dedicated core of faculty, staff and alumni.

Kathy Hovis is a writer for Entrepreneurship at Cornell.

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Lindsey Knewstub