Beginning in 2016, I began consulting with breweries to help them understand and tell their own stories. In the scrum of daily activities, it's not always obvious to a brewery what their story is or how it connects to the things they do. Breweries that succeed over time have a deep sense of their identity. The story is understood equally as well by the owner and keg-washer, and the company speaks with the same voice. Most importantly, the most successful breweries are those that cut through the din of chaos with a consistent, engaging story. Beer is not a widget; it’s something personal. People relate to a brewery with emotion and passion—it’s why they’re so distraught when a company sells out to ABI. I have been hired, sort of like a ghostwriter, to tell breweries' stories for them.
To be clear, I have not been doing ongoing marketing or brand consultation--I was contracted to deliver a story for the brewery in much the way I would deliver a story for All About Beer. As a matter of ethics, I think that distinction is highly relevant. Being employed by or having ongoing relationships with breweries creates an unavoidable conflict of interest. My relationships with breweries exists entirely in the contract to write these stories. These breweries understand that there is no ongoing relationship, and I will continue to cover them independently. (They also understand that I may be doing similar work for their competitors.) As always, you as the reader will render the final judgment.
Finally, the Widmer Brothers Brewery has hired me to write a book-length biography of Kurt and Rob Widmer. That contract will run through most of 2017. During the course of this contract, I will post occasionally when I find out something fascinating in their story, but I will always post a disclaimer about my relationship with the brewery.