The RSA Winners, In Their Own Words
2006—Dan Carey, New Glarus Brewing Company
The same names keep coming up and coming up and coming up in press releases and I think to myself, don’t these guys ever make beer? Writing all those press releases is a lot of work!
2005—Greg Noonan, Vermont Pub and Brewery
I worked as a carpenter, then a small contractor, then in manufacturing management. Now, there was a career mistake for you.
2004—Dick Cantwell, Elysian Brewing Co.
When I started making beer for a living and eventually getting paid for writing about beer, that was a nice change, but fiction is something I don’t want to get too far away from.
2003—Phil Markowski, Southampton Publick House
I’d like to see us taking more of a European approach—more about balance, subtlety, subtle complexity, instead of the beer-as-hot-sauce approach. It’s not about machismo: it’s about flavor and enjoyment, and not being whacked over the head.
2002—John Mallett, Kalamazoo Brewing Co.
Often times the response to our beer was confused. Someone would walk in and say “Give me a Bud.” We’d tell they guy we only sell the beer we make here, and the guy would kind of look at us for a minute and then say “Well, make me a Bud, then.”
2001—John Harris, Full Sail Brewing Co.
I always try to tell people, you’re not a microbrewer, you’re a brewer. Either you brew or you don’t. There’s no small way of doing it. Whether we were doing it or the big brewers were doing it, we all were doing the same thing.
2000—Mark Carpenter, Anchor Brewing Co.
The way I like to describe it, on a technical level, brewers are very helpful to one another. You go to any brewery in the world, they’ll show you around and they’re friendly as hell. Now, the marketing departments can’t call each other, they won’t get along. Other than that, it’s an industry where people help each other out all the time.
1999—Fal Allen, Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
My job was the keg de-bunger. I pried wooden bungs out of kegs for eight hours a day. The kegs were under pressure and when the bungs popped out it sounded like a gun shot and often sprayed the surrounding area with beer and wood shrapnel. My personal best was 300 kegs in a day.
1998—Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery
People talk about “So-and-so is brewing some really big beers.” What’s fun at my age—and I’m 44—is to be able to say “Well hell, boy, I was brewing 10½ percent beers when you were about up to my knees!”
1997—John Maier, Rogue Ales
I warn people: it’s hard work, and it doesn’t pay much.