As most of our readers know, Nate and I are insatiably interested in opening a brewery. Through recent encounters, I’ve personally been reminded to put my money where my mouth is. As a result, I began looking into the concept/cost of operating on a nano scale… but I’m jumping ahead. Actually, I’ve spent some time looking at the TTB website, requesting a brewery packet, and looking into the various aspects involved in becoming a legal brewery. I won’t bother you with the woes of government, but I will say that I’ve learned a lot and that my brewing kettle fire is brighter than ever.
All of us are aware that life encounters can lead us meandering down the most unexpected paths. Through a calculated encounter, I met someone who may be very helpful for the future of a brewery. In reality, she already was. Let it suffice to say that I began taking the future even more seriously. But one piece of the puzzle was still missing: real people who had really started a nano brewery. Sure concepts are great but I’m the type of person that likes speaking and learning from other human beings.
In comes Hess brewing (I have to mention that I spoke to several other nanos and they were also very helpful). Imagine my surprise when I realized that several nano breweries were operating within a three or four hour radius, I decided it would be foolish not to talk to people who had done it. I emailed and then called Mike Hess from Hess brewing in San Diego. It wasn’t long until we were scheduling a call time and also the certainty of a future visit.
Hopefully, I don’t have to tell you that brewers are a busy bunch. I don’t think that busy even does justice to nano breweries. They are often known as people who have “real” jobs and love brewing as a second job. So, time is at a serious premium for guys like Mike (nice name, by the way). When he told me to call him any time after 5pm or on Saturday, I was, once again, reminded how great people who love beer are. Not knowing me from Adam didn’t stop him from helping me with some questions I had, offering details, or warning me of possible pitfalls. He gave me about an hour and a half of his time and would have likely given me much more.
Wow! What a warm and fuzzy story, right? Well, that may be the case, and I’m glad if it gave you butterflies. But what I really want you to take away from this is that if you are even near San Diego, you should go patronize this brewery. Not only does a company like Hess represent the American ideal of small entrepreneurial business as the backbone of our nation, it represent the fortitude, passion, and hospitality that is indicative of true American character. Who wouldn’t want to support a company like that?