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On six years

Every Tuesday I post something in what I call the My Embeered Life series: it’s about me, and beer, and, you know, how the two intersect. I frequently call this my personal blog that I’ve tricked you all into reading.

So it stands that I need a post today, and I have a few things to write about: the book club, the Beer Buyback. Those will have to wait, however, as today is a very special day.

Six years ago, on this very day, six people met in Ethan’s basement, drinking some beer and talking about how they wanted to open a brewery.

Ethan had talked about wanting to do something beer related for a while, so this was a very cool idea but not necessarily an obvious Big Deal that was going to change my life. He had also told me about a brewpub, or a bar, or — where I had met two of the other people in the room — his plan for what we now might call a home brewing coworking space.

After that first meeting the inevitability of Community Beer Works (he came with the name, that first night) never seemed in question. Of course we were going to open a brewery. Of course we were going to make amazing beer. Of course we were going to change the world. We met in Ethan’s basement a few more times (it’s a nice basement!). We met at the offices of WNY Media for a bit after that. There we hammered out our Operating Agreement and became a real company. Eventually, after what seemed like forever at the time, we had our own office in our own building, and we’ve met there ever since.

I’m drinking a can of Frank now, directly from the can even though that strips out the aroma because I don’t care, it is a can, of Frank, and I own a brewery that puts beer into cans. I may have talked a few weeks ago about being burned out on beer, but this is most definitely exciting.

Quite a lot has changed. One of our founding members, Matt, wasn’t at that first meeting, because Matt lives in Austin and we hadn’t yet invented FaceTime. Two other owners have left, and one more has joined. We’ve had births, marriages, divorces.

It’s been quite a ride, these past six years. That first meeting left me energized but I told Ethan that I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it. I didn’t think I could do along the way, either, and if we’re being honest I don’t always think I can do it now. But I do, because how could I not? And luckily I have the rest of the CBW crew, and they do it with aplomb.

I’ve met my closest friends through CBW. We’ve won awards for our beer, our brewery, our ads. Perhaps the most amazing part: we’re just getting started. Saddle up, because we’ve got a long road ahead of us.