About Joe Sixpack

CONTACT: For interviews, media appearances don@joesixpack.net – 215-500-4627

Joe Sixpack is not just your average beer drinker. He’s America’s best-known beer writer.

He’s an entertaining speaker, beer travel expert, TV show host, event organizer and creator of America’s first beer week.

Joe Sixpack is Don Russell, an award-winning Philadelphia writer with nearly 45 years as a newspaper reporter, editor and author. Over the years, he’s written about crooked pols, stupid criminals and a flying pig.

His reports led to the federal government’s first-ever environmental racketeering prosecution, the closure of a county jail, the reform of the Philadelphia taxicab industry, numerous criminal indictments and a highly publicized face-off with the Philadelphia Eagles that eventually ended the team’s ban on football fans’ infamous “Hoagies of Mass Destruction.”

Launched in 1996 in the Philadelphia Daily News, Joe Sixpack is one of Philadelphia’s longest-running columns of any kind.

He’s the author of 3 books:

  • Joe Sixpack’s Philly Beer Guide: A Reporter’s Notes on the Best Beer-Drinking City in America (Camino Books).
  • Christmas Beer: The Cheeriest, Tastiest, Most Unusual Beers of Christmas (Rizzoli Universe).
  • What the Hell am I Drinking? (CreateSpace). Essays on beer styles.

He’s traveled the world in search of great beer, to the world’s northernmost brewery in Norway, to the West Bank of Israel, to the Lithuanian countryside where he was a traveling “ambassador” on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. And he shares his love of beer-focused travel, leading brewery tours and pub crawls in Europe and America.

He has won numerous awards for his beer columns, including 20 Quill & Tankard trophies from the North American Beer Writers Guild. In 2002 and 2006, he was named Beer Writer of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival.

His exposure of a beer-cheating scandal at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium led to a government investigation and, ultimately, a price reduction for fans. His reports on overly aggressive Pennsylvania State Police raids of area taverns led to reform of state liquor law.

Joe Sixpack is the creator and founding executive director of Philly Beer Week, a non-profit organization promoting Philadelphia as “America’s Best Beer-Drinking City.” Universally recognized as the world’s first citywide beer week in 2008, Philly Beer Week under Joe Sixpack spawned more than 100 similar celebrations worldwide, in Europe, Australia, Asia and the Americas.

Russell also served as the first executive director of the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild.

Along with radio talker Glen Macnow, Russell hosts the weekly “What’s Brewing” beer talk show on NBC Sports-Philadelphia. He is an engaging, authoritative speaker who has made hundreds of presentations before corporate, travel, industry and beer enthusiast groups.

Russell lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Theresa Conroy, a certified yoga therapist.

Don Russell aka Joe Sixpack

Photo by Jessica Griffin / DAILY NEWS
Click for hi-res.

Awards (a partial list)

2015
  • Business Story (First Place) –  Keystone Press Award
    • Beer garden licensing investigation – Daily News
  • Feature beat (First Place) – Keystone Press Award
    • Joe Sixpack columns – Daily News
  • Business & Labor Reporting (Second Place) – Society of Professional Journalists/Penna.
    • Beer garden licensing investigation- Daily News
  • Business Writing (Second Place) – Pa. Associated Press Managing Editors
    • Beer garden licensing investigation- Daily News
2014
  • Feature beat (Second Place) – Keystone Press Award
    • Joe Sixpack columns – Daily News
2013
  • Feature beat (Second Place) – Keystone Press Award
    • Joe Sixpack columns – Daily News
2012
  • Feature beat (Second Place) – Keystone Press Award
    • Joe Sixpack columns – Daily News
2009
  • Niche Publication (First Place) – Keystone Press Award
    • Philly Beer Week guide – Daily News
2008
  • Mayoral Proclamation (Recipient) – City of Philadelphia
    • Founding of Philly Beer Week
2006
  • Beer Writer of the Year (Winner) – Brewers Association
    • Joe Sixpack columns – Daily News
  • Feature Beat Reporting (Honorable Mention ) – Keystone Press Award
    • Joe Sixpack columns – Daily News
2005
  • Best Enterprise Reporting (First Place) – Pa. Associated Press Managing Editors
    • Taxi cab investigation – Daily News
2002
  • Beer Writer of the Year (Winner) – North American Guild of Beer Writers
    • Joe Sixpack columns – Daily News
2001
  • Beer Writer of the Year (First Runner-Up) – North American Guild of Beer Writers
    • Joe Sixpack columns – Daily News
  • Culture Category (Honorable Mention) – North American Guild of Beer Writers
    • “Sometimes There’s No Taste Like Home” – Daily News
1999
  • Excellence in Journalism (Public Service) – Society of Professional Journalists (Philadelphia)
    • Taxi Cab series – Daily News
  • Beer Writer of the Year (First Runner-Up) – North American Guild of Beer Writers
    • Joe Sixpack columns – Daily News
1998
  • Best of Philly – Philadelphia Magazine
    • Vet Stadium Beer Scam – Daily News
  • Feature Beat Reporting (First Place) – Keystone Press Award
    • Joe Sixpack columns – Daily News
1997
  • Best beer column* – North American Guild of Beer Writers
    • Joe Sixpack – Daily News
1985
  • Golden Quill (Spot News) – New Jersey Press Association
    • Atlantic City developer investigation – The Sun (Atlantic City)
1981
  • News Story (First Place) –  Keystone Press Award
    • Investigation into unrest at Montgomery County prison – Today’s Post

*My first award for beer writing is probably my proudest. In my first year as a beer columnist, I bested the late, great Michael Jackson in a category he’d won forever. Afterwards he congratulated me and we went out for drinks. I went on to win more than 20 more awards from the North American Guild of Beer Writers