Vignette #11 Dan Carey (New Glarus)

A bit of background on the quotes that follow. I interviewed Dan in 2013 and was curious about why the early lagers they brewed when I lived there--the early focus of the brewery--fell into the background. In The Beer Bible, I highlight Staghorn as one of the best examples made in the US, and I wondered why it and other lagers weren't featured more. (I have hope that the "craft lager" trend will help New Glarus find a new generation of drinkers for these beers.)

“When we came [to Wisconsin] and we made lager beers, the general idea for craft beer was lager beer because that’s what Capital and Sprecher made. What we found was, when you go to Milwaukee and you try to sell your pilsner and you say, ‘hey, try our beer; we make a pilsner.’ And basically the fifty-year-old guy would say, ‘Uh-huh, sure. I’ll have a Spaten.’  He wants to drink a German beer, and I’m not going to change these guys’ minds.”

“And then the other thing that happened: Miller came out with an advertizing campaign. They said: ‘Miller Lite, it’s a fine pilsner.’ So then, if you went into a tavern or a store and said you had a really nice pilsner, they’d say ‘Uh-huh, we already got one. We got Miller Lite.’ And the world started to change as the effect of the west coast and east coast craft breweries moved in. People started to expect craft ales.”

“People might criticize us for one thing or another as if we are in control--and we’re not.  We brewed over 100 different beers and they would all go out into the marketplace. Some would meet with more success than others. It’s survival of the fittest. The ones that meet with success we brew again. As long as people keep buying them, we keep making them, and if people stop buying them, we stop making them. Our customers prefer ales. They expect a craft brewery to make ales with Cascade hops, pale ales, etc etc.  Lagers are a harder sell because the old farts if they want to drink a lager, they drink Spaten.”

 Source:  Brewpublic

Source: Brewpublic

VignetteJeff AlworthComment