Courtesy Citybizlist – Who would have imagined that co-working had arrived in the world of brewing beer? I had a chance to wander around one of the nation’s first cooperative breweries, sample beers made by what one would otherwise assume are competitors and yet were made collaboratively in adjoining tanks. It’s a fascinating story of following one’s passion, never wavering from making a product that you believe in, one of sharing expertise and equipment, all with the curious aftertaste of rapid growth. And as the news of what they were doing spread, other brewers are lining up to work together. Patrick Beille’s story, and this column, isn’t about beer, it’s about what happens when entrepreneurs in the same “competitive” market figure out how to collaborate and as a result success is unleashed.
First, the Beer Part. Patrick is a recovering farmer and a reluctant chef. The commonality is that he loves creating from nature. After he arrived in America, Patrick wandered through a Whole Foods in Chicago and discovered shelves of beer – more selections than he ever saw in his native France – and over the following months, he tasted his way down the shelves. Craft brewing was just beginning to take off, and at the suggestion of his future brother-in- law, Patrick toured a friend’s craft brewery. Although he had no idea how to brew beer, he was smitten. Arriving in Baltimore, Patrick created a partnership with Stephen Demczuk and Hollis Albert, purchased the mothballed Snapple plant below Waverly, acquired brewing equipment from a shuttered Canadian brewery, found a master brewer fed up with the banality of producing the same insipid recipe, and set up shop – all barely a year ago.
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