3 Stars Brewing is one of the craft breweries that are changing the way American consumers consume beer.

3 Stars Brewing is one of the craft breweries that are changing the way American consumers consume beer.

During the past half century, the popularity of craft-brewed beer exploded. It also changed perceptions of the identity of American beer itself. Steve Hindy, one of the founders of Brooklyn Brewery, joins Kojo along with Dave Coleman, founder of 3 Stars Brewery in Washington, D.C., to explore what paved the way for the evolution of American beer – and where it’s likely to go next.

Guests

  • Steve Hindy Co-Founder, Brooklyn Brewery; Author, "The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers Is Transforming the World's Favorite Drink" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)
  • Dave Coleman Co-Founder, 3 Stars Brewing Company

Watch A Featured Clip

Mike McGarvey and Dave Coleman, co-founders of 3 Stars Brewing in Washington, D.C., gave the Kojo Show a behind-the-scenes look at how their brewery got its start — and how they envision it will grow in the future.

Transcript

  • 13:25:20

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIFor decades American beer was synonymous with brands produced by gigantic corporations, think Budweiser, Coors, Miller. But smaller local businesses in places like Brooklyn and Washington, D.C. are changing how consumers both in the U.S. and around the world look at American beer. The resurgence of home brewing gave rise to a generation of so-called craft breweries that now make up 10 percent of the American beer market, brands and flavors that are now so strong that the biggest corporate players are trying to copy or flat out co-op them.

  • 13:25:55

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIJoining us this hour to explore the past, present and future of this so-called craft beer revolution are two of the men on its frontlines. Steve Hindy is co-founder and president of the Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, New York and author of the book "The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers is Transforming the World's Favorite Drink." Steve Hindy, thank you so much for joining us.

  • 13:26:19

    MR. STEVE HINDYThank you, Kojo. Great to be here.

  • 13:26:20

    NNAMDIAlso in studio with us is Dave Coleman. He is the co-founder and president of 3 Stars Brewery right here in Washington, D.C. Dave, thank you for joining us.

  • 13:26:29

    MR. DAVE COLEMANThanks for having me, Kojo.

  • 13:26:30

    NNAMDIIf you want to join the conversation give us a call, 800-433-8850. Are you a home beer brewer? What inspired you to get into it and where did you learn, 800-433-8850? You can send email to kojo@wamu.org. Steve, it's my understanding that your path to brewing began not in the United States but in Egypt. What happened when you were working there decades ago as a journalist? And when did brewing beer become a part of the picture?

  • 13:27:00

    HINDYWell, I went to the Middle East working for the Associated Press and I covered a lot of big stories, wars in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon. And I moved to Egypt in 1981. I was sitting behind President Sadat when he was assassinated. But the biggest impact on my life was meeting American diplomats in Cairo who had served in Saudi Arabia where they have Islamic law no alcoholic beverages are legally available. And these...

  • 13:27:28

    NNAMDIBut they were Americans so they had to have beer.

  • 13:27:30

    HINDYThat's right. That's right. So they home brewed in their apartments in Saudi Arabia.

  • 13:27:37

    NNAMDI...and took that skill with them to Egypt.

  • 13:27:39

    HINDYPardon.

  • 13:27:39

    NNAMDI...and took that skill with them to Egypt.

  • 13:27:41

    HINDYYes. You could buy beer in Egypt but it wasn't very good. It was reputed to have formaldehyde in it. And, you know, your lips would feel a little bit numb after the first couple of sips.

  • 13:27:52

    NNAMDIBeer from mummies?

  • 13:27:53

    HINDYMummified beer, of course. (laugh) So I met these diplomats and they made amazing beer. And I got interested in home brewing. My wife got fed up with being the wife of a war correspondent, came back to Brooklyn and went to work as an editor and was kind of bored. And eventually started Brooklyn Brewery with my neighbor who's a young guy with an MBA.

  • 13:28:16

    NNAMDIWhen you got back to New York and you were brewing beer, what gave you the confidence to persuade your neighbor that you had a future business in you?

  • 13:28:26

    HINDYWell, you know, I did a Lexus Nexus search of the word microbrewery at my newspaper. And I got a stack of articles about the birth of this industry mainly out west. There were a couple of small breweries in the east. But, you know, they were started by people with no background in brewing and very little background in business. And I thought, you know, I'm 39 years old...

  • 13:28:49

    NNAMDIWhat makes me qualified?

  • 13:28:50

    HINDYPardon.

  • 13:28:50

    NNAMDIThat makes you qualified.

  • 13:28:51

    HINDYYeah, so I can do this. And, you know, that's what we did. We put a -- did a business plan. We raised a half million dollars from friends and colleagues and, you know, we did it.

  • 13:29:03

    NNAMDIIt's my understanding, or I read, that when your brewery first started you were approached to do business with the mob. What happened?

  • 13:29:11

    HINDYWe did have a run in with some shady characters when we were building our brewery in Brooklyn. And it's kind of a long story but it ended with a fellow kind of leaning down to me as I'm sitting at my desk and putting his hand between my legs and squeezing and telling me he's going to have to hurt me. And then grabbing me by the shoulders, slamming me into the wall and saying, just kidding.

  • 13:29:38

    NNAMDIYou weren't so sure he was just kidding.

  • 13:29:39

    HINDYI was not. Actually, they went away. They didn't bother us, which was quite amazing. But that very guy went to jail about ten years later for extortion and racketeering, putting no-show jobs on a school construction project in New York City. So he was really a bad guy.

  • 13:29:57

    NNAMDICan I quote what you said to that guy? "Well, you know, Mr. Boss, I think you'd be making a big mistake. We're a growing company. We're going to be important here in Brooklyn and you'll be a part of it in the future when we expand." (laugh) You're making promises that you probably couldn't deliver on down the road.

  • 13:30:12

    HINDYWell, I was very happy to read that he went to jail.

  • 13:30:16

    NNAMDIDave, beer is a second career for you as well. It wasn't that long ago that you were working at the bar The Big Hunt here in D.C. You enjoyed brewing at home with Mike McGarvey your friend and future business partner at 3 Stars. He was working at Sirius XM at the time. At what point did you two decide, wait, we're pretty good at this? We can quit our jobs and brew beer for a living."

  • 13:30:37

    COLEMANWell, we were home brewing and kind of learning our craft. And we started sampling a lot of friends and family and people were kind of giving us the kind of response that we were looking for. I mean, you know, they were like, this is awesome. Why don't we have this in D.C.? Why don't we have a hometown brewery that we can all rally behind? Because that's one of the big things about brewing is that it really is a community thing. And it's really about a culture that develops around breweries.

  • 13:31:02

    COLEMANSo Mike and I brewed the pandemic final batch after about 65 experiments with it. And once we tasted it we said we could take the Pepsi challenge with some of those west coast breweries on this one. So...

  • 13:31:13

    NNAMDISixty-five experiments. How did you go about experimenting with recipes that you felt were good enough to share with a large audience, the recipes that were unique enough to fill a void in a growing beer scene where drinkers already had a lot of options?

  • 13:31:26

    COLEMANSo we were home brewing in Mike's kitchen in the beginning. And then we basically took our home brew set up and fed it a bunch of steroids and moved it down to the basement. And instead of brewing one beer at a time, we were brewing five beers at a time. So we were working on rapid recipe development so that when we were sitting down sampling what we were brewing, it was no longer just sampling one beer. It was sampling five and then rating them and going back.

  • 13:31:48

    COLEMANAnd whatever won -- you know, let's say the first batch of porter, which started with recipe 1.1 all the way through 1.5, whatever won that batch became 2.1. And then went through the whole system all over again. So a lot to brewing.

  • 13:32:03

    NNAMDIAnd what have you come up with that I am now sampling?

  • 13:32:06

    COLEMANYou have our Peppercorn Saison which is a traditional Belgian farmhouse style ale that we brew. And then when it completes fermentation we add green, white and pink peppercorns to it. So it's a very approachable, extremely complex ale. And it's one of our top sellers.

  • 13:32:24

    NNAMDIExcuse me a second. I'm imbibing. (laugh) Steve, speaking of the growing craft beer scene, can we start from the very beginning? How do you define craft beer?

  • 13:32:36

    HINDYWell, the definition for craft beer I think is in the mind of every beer drinker. The beer drinker decides what a craft beer is. In our brewers association representing small brewers all around the country, we have a definition of craft brewer that we use to define who we are promoting and protecting with our association. And there are three elements to that. The first is you have to be independent, meaning you can't be owned by a large company or a non-craft brewing company. And you have to be small.

  • 13:33:17

    HINDYSmall we define as less than six million barrels. I know that sounds like a big number but if you consider the people we're competing against in (unintelligible) make 100 million barrels of beer a year, Miller-Coors makes 60 million barrels of beer a year. And then the third element is we say that you have to make traditional and innovative beers, which is a little bit vague, a little bit subjective. But that's our definition.

  • 13:33:45

    NNAMDIIn your book you quote Jack McAuliffe, the home brewer, who started the New Albion Brewer in California as saying that mass-produced American beer leading up to the late '70s all tasted the same because the same companies making it were trying to make it as cheaply as possible.

  • 13:34:05

    HINDYYeah that, sort of at the heart of the craft beer revolution, is a challenge to the large brewers in this country. But, you know, I'm sure Dave agrees, the larger brewers in this country actually make very excellent beers. They just tend to be kind of narrowly focused on light lager beer whereas we're exploring all different kinds of styles and innovative approaches to brewing.

  • 13:34:37

    NNAMDIIt's a Food Wednesday conversation on craft beer with Steve Hindy, co-founder and president of the Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, New York and author of the book "The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers is Transforming the World's Favorite Drink." He joins us in studio along with Dave Coleman, co-founder and president of 3 Stars Brewery in Washington, D.C.

  • 13:34:59

    NNAMDIYou can call us at 800-433-8850. How do you think the rise of craft breweries is shaping the identity of American beer, 800-433-8850? You can send email to kojo@wamu.org. I'd like to go now to Chuck in Arlington, Va. Chuck, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:35:21

    CHUCKYes. This is a direct question to the Brooklyn Brewery guy because my favorite beer in the whole world is Black Chocolate Stout -- Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. And I'm constantly annoyed each year because it's seasonal and it's only in the winter season, like about a half year. So I'm annoyed because I wonder why isn't the beer available all year long?

  • 13:35:46

    HINDYWell, you know, we don't think it would be as special if it was available year around. And so we release that beer in kind of mid November and it's usually gone by February or so. So I recommend you buy about ten cases in mid November (laugh) and that should hold you for a while.

  • 13:36:09

    NNAMDIChuck, thank you very much for your call and good luck to you with that. You too can call us at 800-433-8850. Have your beer preferences changed as craft beers have become more popular? How and why? Steve, what paved the way for home brewing here in the U.S. to take off and grow into what we now know as our craft breweries? I read that one of the best known San Francisco breweries owes its revival to an heir of the Maytag appliance fortune.

  • 13:36:36

    HINDYYeah, Fritz Maytag was really -- he's really the godfather of the whole craft beer revolution. And obviously Fritz was kind of playing with a different sheet of music than most of us having the Maytag washing machine fortune behind him. But he bought a failing brewery in San Francisco, the Anchor Brewery in 1965 and set about rebuilding that brewery to make it one of the most beautiful breweries in the world and reviving their all malt beer Anchor Steam Beer.

  • 13:37:08

    HINDYThat was a real uphill battle at that time because no one knew what craft beer was. You know, .light lager beer ruled America at that time. And Fritz was alone in his effort for about 11 years until New Albion came along. Also interesting, Fritz eventually started a winery and a distillery. And his father founded the Maytag Blue Cheese company. So, you know, Fritz you can kind of see as like, you know, the godfather of the whole do-it-yourself creed of current generation in America.

  • 13:37:47

    NNAMDIYeah, well if he was the godfather, the grandfather was Jimmy Carter. Where does he fit into all of this?

  • 13:37:52

    HINDYYeah, Jimmy Carter was the guy who signed legislation legalizing home brewing in 1978. Up to that time, home brewing was actually banned in America. I don't think it stopped a lot of people from making beer at home. But when Jimmy Carter legalized it, it sort of came out of the shadows and home brew shops developed. And I think there are about 1.5 million home brewers now in the United States. And I'll bet -- you know, I don't know what percentage of craft brewers started out home brewing but I think it's got to be well over 50 percent.

  • 13:38:32

    NNAMDIDave, a lot of what Steve writes about is the challenge that so many early craft brewers had with distribution. You've seen these challenges now from the perspective of a brewer and from a bar or restaurant. A brewer is trying to get to sell a product. What have your biggest challenges on that end been?

  • 13:38:50

    COLEMANYou know, for us we have the benefit of being in D.C. where a manufacturing company is allowed to self distribute. So we've self distributed since day one and that started with me actually delivering all the beer around D.C. for the first 11 months. So we basically threw kegs in the back of my partner's truck and I would drive them around D.C. and hand them off to the bars.

  • 13:39:10

    COLEMANBut one of the biggest challenges is just having the network and the infrastructure to go about that. You know, I don't own a distribution company. I own a brewery. So bringing on that aspect of the business and then being able to handle it and manage it, that was a huge challenge process.

  • 13:39:26

    NNAMDIWhen did you -- go ahead, Steve.

  • 13:39:28

    HINDYDistribution is very, very difficult. We distributed our own beer in Brooklyn and eventually took on a lot of other beers -- craft beers and really kind of built a craft market in New York City. But it was not fun. Our last year as a distributor, 2003, we spent $60,000 on parking tickets. More money on parking tickets than we did gasoline.

  • 13:39:55

    NNAMDIWhen did you notice that your relationships with distributors and wholesalers was starting to change?

  • 13:40:01

    HINDYYou know, up until about 10 years ago the Anheuser Busch distributors in America who sell, you know, 50 percent of the beer in the whole country, were pretty much exclusively dedicated to Anheuser Busch beers. And when they began to see the growth in craft beer, they opened up to craft brewers. And that has had a huge impact on the growth of this industry in the last 10 years.

  • 13:40:29

    NNAMDIYou wrote an op-ed in the New York Times a few weeks ago calling for changes to franchising laws that you say will free craft beer. What do you want to change?

  • 13:40:39

    HINDYYou know, there's a system in America, the three-tier system, in which, you know, the brewer, the distributor and the retailer are all sort of discreet elements of the business. And franchise laws protect the distributors from the power of big brewers canceling their contract or lording it over the distributor. I understand that and I support that.

  • 13:41:05

    HINDYBut for small brewers, we're often at the mercy of a distributor. And we are calling for reform of the franchise laws to make them more fair for small brewers.

  • 13:41:19

    NNAMDIOn to the telephones again. Here is Walter in Washington, D.C. Walter, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:41:26

    WALTERHi, thanks for taking my call. I'm wondering if your guests can comment on since the craft beer explosion has taken place that there seems to be more and more of an emphasis on hops in beer and just adding tons of hops, you know. And this goes back maybe to Samuel Adams, the commercial I remember seeing where they showed the beer brew master dipping his hands into a giant barrel of hops, you know, and bitter-tasting beers.

  • 13:41:53

    WALTERI'm not really a fan of bitter-tasting hoppy beers. I like malty chewy beers, I guess you'd call it. (laugh) If there was a beer without hops that would be great. But I was wondering if they could speak to this emphasis on hops.

  • 13:42:05

    NNAMDIDave.

  • 13:42:06

    COLEMANSo I think what the caller is referencing is basically the explosion of west coast style IPAs which really were at the forefront of the craft beer explosion. And they are very hop forward and they are focused on bitterness and the characteristics of hops. But I think that what you're seeing now is a lot more innovation where, you know, brewers aren't afraid to use ingredients that aren't traditionally used in brewing.

  • 13:42:30

    COLEMANWe use -- you know, we use toasted pecans in our Southern Belle. We use peppercorns in our Peppercorn Saison. So a lot of people are focused on hop forward beers, but that's not everybody. A lot of people are working with a lot of different ingredients and trying to innovate constantly. And I think that's what a lot of the smaller craft breweries are doing.

  • 13:42:47

    NNAMDIIs that what I have up next, the Peppercorn Saison?

  • 13:42:50

    COLEMANNo. That's what you're drinking right now is Peppercorn Saison. What you have up next is kind of a perfect example of that innovation, is barrel-aged beer. It's actually a combination of three beers. It's Fresh Pandemic Porter blended with Rye Barrel-Aged Pandemic Porter which is also blended with a Knob Creek Rye Barrel-Aged Imperial Brown Ale. So there's a lot of (unintelligible) and stuff.

  • 13:43:10

    HINDYDid you get that, Kojo?

  • 13:43:12

    NNAMDII've been writing it down. (laugh) Walter, your response -- I mean, Steve, your response to Walter.

  • 13:43:18

    HINDYWalter, check out a beer we have out right now called Hammarby Syndrome. It's named after a neighborhood in Stockholm where we recently opened a brewery. And it's made with a grain -- an ancient grain called spelt and it's also got spruce tips in it. And it's a very malty beer. East coast brewers tend to make more balanced beers than west coast brewers. So you've got to seek out the east coast brewers if you're looking for, you know, people who aren't trying to blow your brains out with hops. (laugh)

  • 13:43:50

    NNAMDINot that Steve is biased in any way at all.

  • 13:43:52

    WALTERThank you. I look forward to it.

  • 13:43:54

    NNAMDIThank you very much for your call. Good luck with it. We're going to take a short break. When we come back, we'll continue our conversation on craft beer. You can still call us at 800-433-8850. What do you think the resurgence of production breweries in Washington, D.C. have contributed to the city's identity, 800-433-8850? Or send us an email to kojo@wamu.org. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

  • 13:46:11

    NNAMDIWelcome back to our craft beer conversation with Dave Coleman. He is the co-founder and president of 3 Stars Brewery right here in Washington, D.C. Steve Hindy is co-founder and president of the Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, New York and author of the book "The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers is Transforming the World's Favorite Drink."

  • 13:46:30

    NNAMDISteve, you'll like this email we got from Richard who said, "Thanks for the tribute to Anchor Stream -- Anchor Steam. I grew up in the Bay Area and we knew for years the best beer came from Anchor Steam. At the end before Maytag took over, they only supplied kegs to area pubs with six employees. Here's hoisting an Anchor Steam to Fritz." (laugh)

  • 13:46:51

    HINDYCheers. I agree.

  • 13:46:51

    NNAMDIThat's Fritz Maytag that Steve mentioned earlier in the show. Both of you have marketing successes fairly early. Dave, getting your beer in National Stadium and Steve, getting product placement in a Spike Lee movie, "Do the Right Thing." What were the first, well, expansion kind of challenges you ran up against?

  • 13:47:09

    HINDYDistribution. Very simple answer. We distributed our own beer in New York City. But when we went outside the city we assigned the beer to big distributors. And I remember doing a presentation out on Long Island to a distributor. There were like 80 salesmen in the room. And I walked away from that thinking, wow, you know, if each of these guys sells five cases a month, that'll be 400 cases a month.

  • 13:47:40

    HINDYThat's 5,000 cases for the year. Well, it didn't take long to realize that getting into the heads of those 80 salesmen was a lot more complicated than I thought. And it was many years before we were able to motivate salesmen and create some pull for our beer out in the market.

  • 13:48:04

    NNAMDIIf you would really like to see a brewery with your own eyes, there's a video of Dave Coleman and 3 Star's co-founder Mike McGarvey at their D.C. brewery. It's available on our website kojoshow.org. It was filmed and edited by our web producer Erica Hendry. So you might want to go to kojoshow.org. David, it's my understanding that bottling is a part of your immediate plan at 3 Stars.

  • 13:48:27

    COLEMANYeah, so we actually bottled our first run yesterday. That's for our Illuminati Reserve Society, which is a member's only club with 200 members. So they'll get five releases throughout the course of the year. We did that yesterday and that is going to be handed out to those folks next Tuesday. But moving forward we're going to be bottling some of our larger format beers going in 750s with corks and cages. So you'll be able to enjoy it at home and not just at bars and restaurants.

  • 13:48:56

    NNAMDILook forward to that. Steve, how and when did the major brewing companies like Coors and Anheuser Busch begin to get involved with the craft brewing companies?

  • 13:49:05

    HINDYYou know, there's an index in the back of my book. And it's a chronology of big brewer efforts to play in our category. And actually they started tinkering with this back in the '80s. And they probably developed hundreds of different beers in an attempt to play in the craft category. I think it's only in the last five years that they've really begun to take it seriously. And Miller Coors spending a lot of money promoting Blue Moon, Anheuser Busch promoting Shock Top and Goose Island. They bought a brewery in Chicago. They just bought a brewery in Long Island not too far from us called Blue Point.

  • 13:49:49

    HINDYAnd, you know, they're really getting involved in the category because we're growing double digits. And actually sales of the big light beer brands has declined a breathtaking amount in the last five years, like about 18 million barrels. So they're getting into our segment but I think it's a very tricky game for them because the more they promote flavorful beers like Goose Island or like Blue Moon, the more people they introduce to craft beer, the more likely they are to try a 3 Star or a Brooklyn Lager.

  • 13:50:21

    NNAMDISpeaking of which, here is Brian in Washington, D.C. Brian, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:50:27

    BRIANHi. I wanted to say, first of all, thanks to you Dave and 3 Star. You guys saved me an hour-and-a-half roundtrip to get my beer supplies. I don't know if you had mentioned that you have a supply store. I called a little late but if you hadn't...

  • 13:50:39

    NNAMDIWell, please mention it Dave.

  • 13:50:41

    COLEMANSo yeah, so Mike and I started this home brewer so when we set up our location at 6400 Chillum Place NW...

  • 13:50:48

    NNAMDIThat's where we went yesterday.

  • 13:50:49

    COLEMANExactly. We also put in a home brew shop. So rather than having to travel out on the highways and byways to Maryland or Virginia to get your ingredients for home brewing, you can just come to your favorite local brewery and pick the stuff up there.

  • 13:51:02

    NNAMDIGo ahead, Brian.

  • 13:51:02

    BRIANYou guys are ten minutes from my house. Yeah, I've been brewing on and off since I was 19. I'm 45 now, a bartender here in D.C. as well. And the previous caller was talking about the hops, this big, big hop hop flavor. It's -- you know, it's tough to get these younger drinkers to try something outside of the norm. Also the other one that irritates me sometimes is this move towards the Belgian's as well. So, like, you know, you might go to another place -- I won't mention the name, there's one near my house. They're IPA and Belgian heavy. So if I want to get like a decent Porter or something else, it's tough. So I've got to go to places like 3 Star and fill my growler.

  • 13:51:42

    COLEMANThere you go. We appreciate the business and the support.

  • 13:51:45

    NNAMDIBrian, thank you very much for your call, but I'm glad you mentioned Belgian beers because that allows me to go on to David in Washington, D.C. David, you're now on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 13:51:56

    DAVIDThank you, Kojo. I was interested to hear about 3 Stars having their brewing supplies because I'm also a home brewer. And not having to drive, in my case, to Annapolis would be great. I, unlike the previous caller, am a big fan of the Belgians and feel like Belgians brought me back to drinking beer. I really had been a wine guy. I'm from Oregon originally. So I was drinking a lot of Oregon wine. And suddenly I tasted the Belgians, which -- lots of complexity and were interesting to drink. I'm interested in any comments about kind of the influence that the influx of Belgian beer has had on the craft movement.

  • 13:52:43

    NNAMDISteve.

  • 13:52:43

    DAVIDSo thank you.

  • 13:52:45

    HINDYYou know, my generation of brewers starting in the '80s, basically we were making beers according to the German purity law, you know, using the four basic ingredients of beer, grain, hops, water and yeast. But in the '90s there was an incredible burst of innovation coming into craft brewing with breweries like New Belgium Brewery in Colorado making only Belgian style beers. Russian River in Northern California making barrel-aged beers, sour beers. Allagash up in Maine making Belgian style beers. Dogfish here in Delaware, Sam, you know, putting anything in his beer. (laugh)

  • 13:53:27

    HINDYAnd it really kind of gave a new charge of life to craft beer when that innovation came into the industry. About that time we hired our brew master Garrett Oliver and he's been the engine of innovation for us at the Brooklyn Brewery. Actually Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout was the first beer Garrett did for us. He calls that actually his resume for a job at the Brooklyn Brewery.

  • 13:53:58

    HINDYAnd we have a whole range of Belgian style beers now, Local One, Local Two, Sorachi Ace. And I think that's a very exciting segment of the industry. Brooklyn Lager though, which is a well balanced beer, our first beer, is still 50 percent of our production. And we're very happy to have a good solid flagship like that.

  • 13:54:20

    NNAMDIThank you very much for your call. Steve, you've said that win or lose, beer wars are usually good for your company. How so? You once found yourself in a tiff with the people behind Sam Adams from what I understand.

  • 13:54:32

    HINDYYeah, you know, the media eats it up when brewers go at it. And, I mean, it did -- it wasn't exactly fun at the time but you kind of look back on that and you realize you got a lot of attention as a result of getting into a little fuss. Not that I go out and seek out fusses. (laugh) But the media is always up for covering any kind of beer war.

  • 13:55:00

    NNAMDIAny kind of war period. Right now we're up to cover Beyonce and Jay Z but that's another story. (laugh)

  • 13:55:05

    HINDYYeah, right.

  • 13:55:06

    NNAMDIDave, D.C. went decades without production breweries. Now there's you, There's D.C. (word?) , there's Chocolate City. Is there a sense of competition among the local people operating in this space?

  • 13:55:17

    COLEMANWell, I think just inherently anyone who's owning their own business is a motivated competitive person. So, you know, I strive with my partner Mike to make the best beer that we can possibly make. And, you know, we try to make the best beer in the mid Atlantic or the east coast. So there is competition but something Steve was kind of hinting at is the sense of camaraderie in the community in brewing is that, you know, no one knows what you go through on a day-to-day basis when you're opening a brewery except for people who are also opening a brewery.

  • 13:55:48

    COLEMANSo, you know, you run out of ingredients, you run out of growlers or growler caps or whatever. And you call the guy down the street who's doing the same thing and, hey can I borrow a couple bags of pilsner malt or a couple stacks of growler caps. So there's a sense of camaraderie and we're all working on the same kind of page so...

  • 13:56:03

    NNAMDIYou get a lot of public interest. It's my understanding you call the group of volunteers who helped get your brewery up and running the 3 Stars Fight Club.

  • 13:56:12

    COLEMANYeah, so when Mike an I started we didn't get the initial investment money that we were looking for as far as capital to start it up. So we couldn't hire contractors to recondition our space. So basically we had a bunch of like-minded guys and girls from D.C. who work 9 to 5 Monday through Friday and would come out every Saturday for the price of pizza and beer and barbecue, and would help us recondition our space. So there was mopping and etching and degreasing a former auto body shop and turning into what it is now. So, yeah, that was Fight Club. Don't talk about it.

  • 13:56:42

    NNAMDISteve.

  • 13:56:44

    HINDYYou know, Dave's absolutely right. The sense of community is key to craft brewing. You know, the foreword to my book is written by John Hickenlooper who was the founder of the Wynkoop Brewery in lower downtown Denver, which was a rundown industrial area. And that brewery sparked a revival there which has been amazing. And John eventually ran to be mayor of Denver and he's now governor of Colorado. So he's kind of ridden his local notoriety to the top of the heap out there.

  • 13:57:17

    NNAMDIA lot of history in this book too. We're running out of time but while in your book you recognize breweries that were first began in 1988, you place special emphasis on one that was first started in 1888, Matt Brewing Company. Why do you feel it's so important to recognize a brewing company that was started 100 years before the rest in this chapter?

  • 13:57:37

    HINDYYou know, it's interesting. The association that represented regional breweries in America in like the mid '80s was known as The Last Man Standing Club because so many of those breweries lost out to the big giant breweries.

  • 13:57:53

    NNAMDI(unintelligible) seconds.

  • 13:57:54

    HINDYBut Matts actually made the transition from being a regional brewery to being a craft brewery. And they're key leaders of our industry.

  • 13:58:03

    NNAMDIBack in 1888. Steve Hindy is co-founder and president of the Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, New York and author of the book "The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers is Transforming the World's Favorite Drink." Dave Coleman is the co-founder and president of 3 Stars Brewery in Washington, D.C., which I'm savoring even as we speak. Thank you both for joining us and thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

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