What makes a brewery great?
What creates popularity or what it is it about the experience that makes it so good? Is it buzz or small volume or atmosphere? Or something else?
We asked our cousins for their opinions.
Wes: I think the obvious first answer is craft and quality beer. Along with that I’d say the importance of the people that actually work in that company can’t be overstated. The people make a company and if you don’t have people that are passionate about the craft and what’s being produced I think it’s pretty evident if that’s the case, and also it’s evident if they are passionate. Beyond that I don’t know if size plays into it for me at least. I think people and product are the main two things. If they make smart business decisions you can usually tell if a brewery is on the up or going out the door.
Greg: I guess I’m so aligned with this idea of independent and craft and community oriented and really this dedication to the movement rather than beer or business. I think of the breweries like Sierra Nevada – they’re huge. Their commitment to doing the right thing for the world, for the brewery , and the people – it’s unparallelled. And they’re independent and I think that’s amazing because it’s a unique offering that craft brewers can provide in this marketplace that’s typically highly corporate and highly consolidated. That’s what’s great in my opinion when there are owners and companies that are so dedicated to it that they’ll just walk past untold amounts of money and opportunity and anything really just to continue the movement and to continue the community focus and decentralization of power and money and resources. I think that’s really cool.
Jared: I think I mirror that a little bit. For me the culture that the brewery is creating and I think more than anything it’s witnessing curiosity play out. That’s what I love seeing when I go to those experiences. I go, “Oh they thought to do that, that’s cool. Oh they thought to play with the puzzle and not just chug beer.”
I’m more about the culture that’s what I personally enjoy about being part of Iron Horse and the team here is we are those things that Greg said. It’s good that what you think works also aligns with with Iron Horse attempts to do. Trying to be more culturally minded. That’s what makes a brewery great. The attempt to do something beyond just themselves and help impact the community.
Devin: What makes a brewery great is its ability to produce a consistent product, but that it’s also willing to test the limits of creativity to appease the ever changing appetite of the modern beer consumer. A great brewery should be able to find a way to resonate with its local community. Lastly a great brewery should do everything they can to be environmentally conscious in regards to its sustainability.
Paul: I think there are a couple ways for a brewery to be considered “great”. One is to make beers that strongly adhere, or even define, the styles they claim to be. For example, I think Russian River is a great brewery because they set the gold standard for double IPAs, but there are plenty of “great” breweries out there that make a DIPA just as good as Pliney. For breweries that don’t focus on style guidelines, the way to be great is to make a beer that has a unique appeal that is widespread (e.g. Irish Death).
What do you think makes a brewery great?