Thursday, August 8, 2013

476 Days Later...

I’ve been interested in authoring a personal blog for several years, but I’ve found it difficult reserving time to do so. That being said, here I am, writing my first thoughts in well over a year. It seems appropriate now since my life has changed a bit during that time. One of the more substantial changes is the status of Low Dive Brewing.

We spent more than a year focused on opening a brewery in Chicago. During that time, my biggest role aside from brewing was creating (and maintaining) brand identity and a presence within a handful of social networks. As much as I may dislike some aspects of marketing, I rather enjoyed the responsibility. And while time-consuming, I also enjoyed putting myself out there to network, meeting anyone I could that works within the industry and even those in a similar position that I was in—working their way into it. There’s a lot to be said for networking. I’ve met a lot of great people whom I hope to work with in the future or even just drink a couple beers with when the opportunity arises. Being part of a home brewery working towards opening a commercial brewery comes with its challenges. We loved sharing our beer. Offering the experience we worked to create with it resulting perhaps in a new fan or rather interested future consumer, and even better, feedback and criticism. But it became more difficult as the popularity of home brewing, and craft beer in general, kept growing. So much so, that our efforts caught someone’s attention, and TTB was contacting us soon after, making it nearly impossible to share the fruits of our labor.

In that following year, while working on our business plan, marketing ourselves, formulating recipes and brewing those beers, I sensed a slow deterioration. By the end of 2012, it was decided that we would no longer pursue the venture together. At that point, we were simply home brewers again. And admittedly, I was very excited about it. That past year brought challenges unforeseen by me. Challenges I felt were out of my control. But now, all we planned on doing was getting back to the basics, and brew beer with a rejuvenated approach.

Also at this time, Tara (my lovely girlfriend) and I decided I would move into her home. Obviously, that was a big step for both of us. What that also meant was that I would soon be able to brew at home, whereas in the past, I relied entirely on the others to host primarily due to the fact that my apartment simply wasn’t conducive for brewing and fermenting beer. However, that also meant that Low Dive would now have 3 locations, thus likely transporting equipment even more than before depending on who hosts. Having to transport the equipment at all is not ideal. Therefore, Tim and Sean proposed that we split our equipment as best we could, resulting in two separate brewhouses. Tim and Sean, who share a home with their families, would share one set, while Matt and I would share the other. It was unanimously agreed upon, so we sold some of our larger equipment, and divvied up the remaining pieces between the two groups. Matt and I were excited to get brewing again, so we worked diligently to build our brewhouse back up, and finally mashed in our first beer as a duo (again) on June 1.

I know there are folks out there wondering what’s going on with the Low Dive brand. Lately, when I’ve been asked, my genuine response is, “I don’t really care.” But that's only because I find great pleasure in simply brewing and not worrying about the business side of things at this time. Now that 95% of all-things-brewing between Matt and I occur at my home, I’m in a happy place. But to address any confusion or curiosity regarding the status of Low Dive Brewing, it still exists. When we decided not to pursue the venture as the four original members, and instead, put our sights on just brewing again, the thought was that Low Dive would function more as a home brew club. while we don’t brew as a foursome any longer, we’re still friends, and we are still home brewing.

Matt and I's equipment; my new basement
It is still Matt and I’s desire to open a commercial brewery together. whether or not we bring the Low Dive brand along with us remains to be seen. For now however, our focus simply is on brewing beer.