Businesses can grow too quickly. Often, that rapid expansion is at the cost of culture and authenticity.
Since they began in 2009, Clay Robinson alongside Dave Colt and their colleagues at Sun King Brewing in Indianapolis have created one of the most genuine and respected breweries in craft beer. From just 509 barrels in 2009, Sun King kicked out 5,024 in 2010 and surpassed 21,000 barrels in 2013. More than anything, they’ve grown well–maintaining an incredible culture and having never wavered when it comes to their focus on quality.
Last month I had the good fortune of being able to share my story and the story of Solemn Oath with a unique audience, TEDxNaperville. As someone who is perpetually in search of inspiration, I have long been a supporter of TED and really any situation that involves sharing ideas.
For my topic, I elected to talk about the landscape of the craft beer culture–how this is an industry that is overflowing with passion, creativity, and determination. And how, most of all, we’re just getting started.
Holidays are strange occasions. They bring you together with loved ones you may not have seen since our space rock was in this exact position relative to the sun, which is pretty rad when you think about it.
But then you think about the fact that our solar system is sliding through our already-rotating galaxy, which is itself hurtling through space, away from the center of the universe, which is who knows where. What we mean, obviously, is that this is a perfect time of year to convert all your friends and family. Not to your religion or anything like that, but to beer. And here’s the key to doing it: Don’t dip any toes in the water. Don’t ease anyone into it. Slow and steady loses at life. Step away from that Boston Lager.
The craft industry is strong right now, but what comes with growth is often people getting involved for the wrong reasons. Quick dollars in a burgeoning industry from individuals or companies that aren’t passionate about the craft. Wine went through this and craft beer has even gone through this before.
So while you could dive in and open another microbrewery and compete within our collaborative sphere, what many of you should consider is adding to the movement in a different capacity. What you should consider is opening the next great American craft beer bar. And if that is of interest to you, here are some important things to consider.
Back before Solemn Oath beer ever hit taps, I thought I blew my chances of working there. I met John and Joe at Bangers & Lace for some feel-each-other-out beers and promptly got into it with one of their newly minted sales reps.
Goose was old news, he swore, hemorrhaging all its talent and cutting corners already, just a year after the sale to AB-InBev. Too many exciting new breweries were coming up for Goose to stay fresh and hold onto its tap handles while adapting to corporate top-down management. Their sales force was playing dirty with dollars. Goose Island was no longer Chicago’s craft darling, and never could be again.
Bullshit. I called it then, I believe it now, and here’s why: ten reasons you should be drinking the good stuff.
We are nothing without our friends. For each of the past two years Solemn Oath has had the great fortune of being a part of GBH x BSSG, also known as GoodBeerBuckshot, an event well-beyond-organized by Michael Kiser of Good Beer Hunting and Max Wastler of Buckshot Sonny’s Sporting Goods.
Hosted at Camp Wandawega, one of Earth’s most inspiring places, this weekend serves as a hat tip to camaraderie and creativity and is forged by the fortunate few that attend. The group consists of artists, artisans, brewers, chefs, designers, coffee roasters, and film makers, with each expected to add to the experience and help drive the weekend. Read more on that here.
I enjoy informing (teasing) fresh college graduates, such as taproom worker Lou, about how each day in the real world makes you more dumb. You retain less, read less, drink more… or at least that’s how it worked out for me. I used to be pretty goddamn intelligent. I mean, I still am an intellectual when it comes to pop culture (Kanye and Kim named their baby North), energy drinks (they’re enlightening), and cats (meow).
A few weeks ago, John introduced me to the works of a man named A.J. Jacobs. The first article I read by this sarcastic gem of a man was titled “I Think You’re Fat” and it rocked my world. Not only has Jacobs written articles for Esquire and The New York Times, he’s also written quite a few books, one being “The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World,” where he read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica and wrote about his experience. Upon discovery of the existence of this book, I decided to emulate Jacobs’ experience by reading The Oxford Companion To Beer by Garrett Oliver, which is the ultimate beer encyclopedia. I thought it was about damn time for me to learn something; fill my ginormous brain with something other than the Pulp Fiction script and decoding of a cat’s meow (a few short meows upon entry to my apartment means Marsellus is happy I’m home).
Civil War Eye-Patched Tony Danza offers advice on family, style, and the challenges of this life. If you have a question that you can’t seem to answer, this is your man.
Advice Column – Monday, October 28, 2013 (Ed. Note: Written by both Matt Offerman and Tim Marshall)
Beer connoisseurs across the globe have long held California as a mecca to the craft, and they’re absolutely right. From the long-time powerhouse breweries in the north to the hop-centric revolution carried forward by producers in and around San Diego, the California market has long been then envy of others throughout the states. But few people ever mention what’s going on in greater Los Angeles.
Last week we had the chance to bring Solemn Oath to pour beer in Los Angeles as part of a truly unique event called Uppers & Downers. Michael Kiser of Good Beer Hunting and Intelligentsia teamed up for the first in what will be a series of events highlighting the past, present, and future of beer brewed with coffee.