I grew up thinking beer came from a can, from a store, and most likely had the words “Budweiser” or “Miller” on it. You either bought the red box or the blue. This had more to do with social exposure & advertising than anything – Dad always drank what he called “the good stuff”. Strange shaped glass bottles with dark beer in them (it would take me years to understand that he was the smart one). I was a product of a generation that bought the cheapest, grossest beer on the shelf – with no thought about anything more than cost. Enter Andrew Spilde. When I met him I couldn’t figure out why he would spend more money on seemingly “unknown” beer than getting a 24 pack of Pabst. It’s about the quantity right? The idea of anything but my staple light beers was very strange. Slowly Drew made me start trying the beer he bought. Some I liked, some I didn’t – but what I started to realize was that I had wasted all my booze money up to that point in my life on beer flavored water. That was my “aha” moment.
Fast forward a few years and I now live with that same guy who introduced me to quality craft beer – our lives now revolving around the brewing industry. Somewhere between his love of home-brewing and becoming a brewer at Fitger’s Brewhouse, Andrew has made me into a proud craft beer supporter. I now cringe at those red and blue boxes sitting on the shelf & march right past to the ever-growing craft beer section. People always gawk when I tell them that Drew brews beer for a living, mainly because it sounds fun (which it is) and awesome (also true) but few realize how hard it can be. These brewers are kick butt, hard working beer scientists who work long hours & don’t have room for mistakes. But ask any of them if they mind the work & you’ll probably get a shit grin. They love it.
Living in Duluth, a town where quality beer is appreciated & welcomed, I have become even more aware of the growing industry. I name drop “Brewhouse” like its my job & I make sure to support the company as much as possible. If 5 years ago you would have asked me what my life would be like now, I would have never pictured having a kegerator in my dining room or rows of empty growlers lined up in the kitchen. I am surrounded by bearded men, loads of dirty Brewhouse T-shirts that need washing constantly, brewer boots that smell horrible (some serious, serious stink), late night brewer poker games and endless amounts of empty pint glasses in the sink. But somewhere between those first home-brew parties and the look of pure joy on Drew’s face as he talks about his job – I fell in love with good beer. The industry, the people & the product. It’s a family & everyone is welcomed.
I am so thankful for the life Andrew & I are creating in this beautiful lake city, and could not be more proud of him, his coworkers & the quality beer they are producing. They have helped to put Duluth on the map as a leader in craft brewing. This week I wanted to show all of you what goes on behind those Brewhouse brewery doors & why quality beer is important. Plus, I think those hard working bearded men deserve some giant acknowledgement for their continuing commitment to this community. Get your taste buds ready, here we go – 7 Reasons why you should Support your Local Brewery & drink Craft Beer:
1. Buying local helps the economy. Put money into your community & good things happen. Growth. Expansion. $$$. Everyone is happy.
2. Supporting a brewery doesn’t only mean drinking their beer – Eat their food. Buy their merchandise. Spread the word – brewpubs and breweries exist & survive because a product is being consumed. Consume away!
3. There are four ingredients of beer: grains, hops, water, yeast. Pretty simple right? Maybe if you are drinking piss water – but the ingredients of a craft beer in comparison are going to be of better quality, chosen carefully by the brewmaster, and used fresh. Personally, I would rather drink a tasty hop induced ale than a tasteless can of yellow water.
4. Credibility. Try walking off the street into a large corporate brewery & find someone who will take the time to sit down and talk about their brewing process – not likely. Just getting in the door can be a feat in itself. How about instead you walk down the street to your local brewery & knock on the window. Someone, most likely a bearded man smiling back at you, will be more than happy to talk about the beer he is making by hand.
5. Choices. There are almost 1,600 craft breweries in the United States all making different & unique beers. God bless America.
6. Jobs. Craft Breweries are all different – some small, some big, some have food, some can sell their beer, some can’t – but they all provide jobs for our community. Pretty sure that is a big ol’ exclamation point (!) Plus, a lot of my friends have jobs at breweries – they like being employed citizens & I like them.
7. Life is Short. Wouldn’t you like to spend your time drinking quality beer & supporting your neighbors? I thought so. Quite frankly, supporting your local breweries is just the right thing to do. Be a smarty pants. drink the good stuff.