Once upon a time I embarked upon a brewing and blogging mission that was to serve a singular purpose: to catalogue my adventure in starting a brewery in southern Illinois. Shortly therein I discovered that starting a brewery would take some time and that my writing interests tilted toward an examination of the intersection of beer and food. So this space suddenly became dedicated to food and beer pairing and a passionate exploration of farming in this region of southern Illinois, southeastern Missouri, and western Kentucky.
I never gave up the dream of starting the brewery, however, and I continued to research how to make the fantasy a reality. I also quickly realized that in starting a business there is a virtue in exposing less before you know exactly how things will take shape. I applaud those who have shown the bare bones of their plans as they’ve created them. But I realized that I didn’t have it in me to discuss every detail. Deals fall through; people come and go (some even pass from this world); concepts change; money evaporates. There is an unsung beauty in revealing less in order to let the things in this world pass by quietly, as so often they do.
In the course of creating the brewery that I am announcing to the world publicly this week, I had several viable–indeed, seemingly concrete–possibilities fall through before my eyes, and just as many others that were suggested and never materialized. A beautiful old building in a small town, an idiosyncratic Pentacostal church, and now, as we settle into our final locale, a small building we will construct ourselves on two acres of gorgeous wood land in Ava, Illinois.
This was nearly two years of constant work, most of it struggle, weighing options, calculating money, and biting nails about the future with little proven track record in the area about what to expect it would bring. We still keep those anxieties to a certain extent, but we also move forward with a belief in the strength of an idea that has been chiseled to fit us on so many levels.
I am proud to tell you that following the direction of my blog of the last two years, Scratch Brewing Company, my endeavor with Aaron Kleidon and Ryan Tockstein, will focus to the greatest extent possible on creating beers made with local ingredients, grown in our garden, foraged in the southern Illinois hills, or found in local farms. Our food will be produced under the same ethic. We will start with a small but carefully crafted menu that is created with ingredients the majority of which haven’t traveled more than 100 miles.
If you’d like to follow the progress of the brewery, go to scratchbeer.com where we’ll post regular updates. You can also follow us on Facebook. I won’t post too much about the brewery here. I’ll continue to use the blog to write beer reviews, create beer pairings and focus on beer and food in southern Illinois.
Here’s to good beer! I hope you all enjoy what we have in store. I think I speak for Ryan and Aaron when I say that we look forward to sharing it with you.