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, event organizer and creator of America’s first beer week.
Joe Sixpack is Don Russell, an award-winning Philadelphia writer with nearly 40 years as a newspaper reporter and editor. 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.”
In 2016, he was named editor in chief of the Newspaper Media Group, a group of more than 45 community newspapers headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J.
Launched in 1996, Joe Sixpack is one of Philadelphia’s longest-running newspaper columns of any kind. He now appears on Wednesdays in Philadelphia Weekly.
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).
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.
Russell, 61, lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Theresa Conroy, a certified yoga therapist and studio operator, and their Siberian Husky, Karma.