Today we joyously introduce the first release in a series of videos produced by our friends at Transient Pictures exploring the people and stories that make Brooklyn Brewery. As 2013 marks our 25th year of making beer, there’s no better person to kick things off than Brooklyn co-founder & president, Steve Hindy.
Most craft brewers had a life before beer. Steve Hindy covered wars and assassinations for The AP in the Middle East. Along the way, he met American diplomats in bone-dry Islamic countries whose only source of beer was home-brewing. War correspondents are a resourceful lot, and Steve brought that resourcefulness to starting a brewery in Brooklyn.
25 years ago, two neighbors threw caution to the wind, quit their respective day jobs as a reporter and a banker, and founded Brooklyn Brewery. The road to success was paved with many challenges, but today The Brewery’s award-winning roster of beers is distributed in 25 states and 21 countries, and the neighbors, Steve Hindy & Tom Potter (before and after pic below) are two happy campers: Tom has moved on to found the NY Distilling Company, and Steve still sits in the chair at the brewery. (cont. below)
To celebrate this quarter century of Brooklyn beer, we’re partying right next door with our BFF’s at Brooklyn Bowl and introducing a very special Silver Anniversary Lager – a double bock version of Brooklyn Lager, our first and best selling beer — available throughout 2013 featuring four unique labels by Brooklyn-based artists. Each new label will be launched at our quartlery Local x Local music, arts and media party at The Bowl. First up is March 20 (poster below) featuring Brooklyn band Beach Fossils, one of our faves.
The party is free with an RSVP, or $5 at the door on the day of. Silver Anniversary Lager will be available on draft & in big bottles, pints of Brooklyn Lager will be just $4, and Blue Ribbon is cooking up their famous Bone Marrow & Oxtail Marmalade Sliders as a special menu item.
“Back in the early 90s, we were busily trying to establish a beer culture in New York City through our distribution company, The Craft Brewers Guild,” Steve reminisces. ”I did my first beer dinner at Windows on the World, atop the World Trade Center, in 1992. We did hundreds of such dinners over the next few years, and we continue to do them to this day. This article by highlighted some of the beer dinner pioneers, like Alan Harding at Nosmo King (the first No Smoking restaurant in NYC).”
We look forward to reporting on how food writers regard beer in 2033. Speculation is already circulating about anti-gravity pours and the effects of space travel on hops…
On Bloomberg TV’s “Taking Stock“, host Pimm Fox had “halal” on the brain when it came to guessing who his mystery guest was last week. To be fair, one of the clues was: “Islamic laws were the catalyst for my guest to learn his or her craft.” Watch the full clip here.
Celebrate the opening of the new St. Ann’s Warehouse space by coming down to 29 Jay Street in Dumbo to see MIES JULIE. The show examines the struggles of race, class and life in modern South Africa, and has won several awards in previous festivals. “We had front row seats for a production of Strindberg’s ‘Mies Julie’ Saturday night,” Steve says. “Artistic Director Susan Feldman said, ‘Are you sure you want to be in the front row?’ We later learned what she was talking about. VERY intense play. Don’t miss it.”
Brooklyn Brewery will be on hand to support our friends at St. Ann’s. The show is only open until December 16, so be sure to buy your tickets today!
I attended the David Byrne & St Vincent concert last Saturday at Williamsburg Park, just down the street from the brewery. It was a fantastic marriage of two generations of music. David Byrne, 60, and Annie Clark, 30, came together with songs from their new album, Love This Giant, and some Talking Heads favorites, like “Burning Down the House” and “Road to Nowhere.” Clark told the audience that she first remembers hearing Byrne when she was four years old, and she could not believe she now was on a stage with him. The lovely Clark was stunning in electric black hair, blue skirt, halter top and yellow guitar. Byrne was handsome with his trademark white hair, white shirt and slacks, navy blazer and red guitar. The crowd of 5,000 was spellbound by the two performers and their brass section back-up. The lead singers’ and back-up musicians’ movements were carefully choreographed. The audience knew the words to the current songs and the Talking Heads revivals. The Williamsburg Park concerts are a continuation of a seven-year Williamsburg tradition that began at McCarren Park Pool, moved to New York State Park on the East River and finally to Williamsburg Park, the first phase of a city plan to develop waterfront parkland from North 5th Street to North 16th Street. The concerts raise funds for the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn, an organization that I serve as founding Chairman. OSA is dedicated to creating new parks and improving existing parks in all of North Brooklyn—the area defined by Greenpoint and Williamsburg.
Teddy’s Bar & Grill was one of five customers we delivered to on our first day in business, March 30, 1988. For a long time, Teddy’s was our only customer in Williamsburg. There was no sign on Teddy’s. I think it was named for the Polish owner who preceded the three people who bought it in 1987-Felice and Glenn Kirby and Lee Ornati. The bartender was Eddie Doyle, an old timer who recalled the days when local breweries like Schaefer and Rheingold owned the beer business in New York. Before Prohibition, Teddy’s had been owned by one of those old Brooklyn breweries, Peter Dolger. Eddie pushed Brooklyn Lager on Teddy’s daytime regulars and the eclectic nighttime mix of artists, musicians, construction workers, firemen and cops. I remember when Glenn, astounded, told me Brooklyn was selling as well as Bud. And then I remember Felice giving us a second tap when we opened our brewery on North 11th Street. We are grateful for Teddy’s business. We are happy to help them celebrate their 25th anniversary and wish them another 25.
If there ever was any doubt that Brooklyn can travel, it was dispelled by the BROOKLYN, SWEDEN music festival. I was in Stockholm for the two-day festival at top Swedish music club Debaser. The festival also played Debaser’s club in the artsy southern city of Malmo. Sixteen Brooklyn-based bands headlined by “Blonde Redhead” and “The Hold Steady” played to avid sell-out crowds. Debaser CEO Annalie Telford told me that Debaser got more press and social media action with this festival than with any show they have ever produced. The bands were treated to beer dinners featuring a broad range of Brooklyn beers, and the beers were on sale at each venue. Annalie said the beers got as much press as the music — a reflection of the excitement that Brooklyn Brewery has been able to create in Sweden. We’re brainstorming with our international partners about how to bring even more Brooklyn on the road.
Brooklyn Magazine reports that Steve is cooler than Martin Landau, but doesn’t quite live up to Joe Torre. We still love him just the same. As the article reads:
The former Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press befriended his downstairs neighbor in Park Slope, banker Tom Potter, over their shared hobby—homebrewing beer. Soon it became more than a hobby, and bigger than their homes: the two quit their jobs and started the Brooklyn Brewery, which opened for business in 1987, long before Brooklyn had become the epicenter of all things hip (especially small breweries). In 1994, the company picked up their current brewmaster Garrett Oliver, and three years later moved into the former factory in Williamsburg that’s still the center of its since-expanded operations. (And Hindy’s still the company’s president.) At most, Hindy helped shape the borough’s recent transformation; at least, he gave us something delicious to drink—something to make us think of home and feel a tinge of hometown pride, no matter what borough or part of the world in which we might find ourselves.