On the second episode of the Brewer to Brewer podcast Marcus Baskerville of Weathered Souls takes the reins as host and interviews his friend and mentor Jeffrey Stuffings of Jester King Brewery.
The conversation eventually turns to travel and the toll it can take on brewers who are in demand for collaborations, festivals, and events. Baskerville, who is getting ready to open a second brewery in North Carolina, and who is a frequent speaker at brewery conferences admitted that all the time away from home and the brewery was taking its toll.
Marcus Baskerville: Travel has become almost menacing for me. I always have issues with my flights and different things like that. But it took me out of home life. It’s hard to travel when your significant other works. And then the kids have school and all that type of stuff.
And it makes it a situation where you’re normally traveling alone. At certain points, I was gone for almost three weeks out of the month. I know you’ve done that as well.
On your end, how did travel affect your personal life? We know you also have taken a backseat recently from a lot of traveling and collaborations and stuff like that. So, what was the reason behind that? What were some of the downfalls of doing all of those collabs and some of the travel?
Jeffrey Stuffings: It was tough on my wife, tough on my kids. I had mainly little babies when I was really doing two events, if not, like three events or collaborations per month.
And I remember it feeling like being on tour. Of the many sports I love, one of them is tennis, and I remember a tennis player saying, ‘Oh, yeah, we’re kind of like a traveling band, like I see all these same faces, but in a different city at a different tournament.’ And that’s kind of how it was with us with, beer events. We would see all our friends at different beer events, all over the country. And that was a lot of fun.
It had this this underground, like punk rock industry feeling that was starting to hit the mainstream a little bit, around 2011 to 2015 where craft beer was coming into public consciousness. You meet all these cool people with all these cool places have all these cool experience get to try all these cool flavors, whether it be from restaurants or breweries or bars or whatever.
I don’t want to say like it actually took like much of like a health toll because I tried to do it like [Jean-Pierre van Roy of Cantillion] would always do. I’d see him at the festivals. Every morning he’s in his tracksuit. And he’s out there running five miles every morning. Not drinking too much the night before.
So, I tried to emulate that so I don’t feel like it like destroyed my health or anything. But to your point about family life that was tough.
That is extremely hard. So, in consultation with my wife, and kids, I decided to pull away from going solo and not traveling quite as much.
COVID put a big pause on that anyway. But now that things are opening back up, and you see festivals everywhere again, which is great.
I’ve pretty much said I’m going to either bring my family or just send people from Jester King who I very much trust to represent us. As much as I love the industry I feel like, these are years that are just like, cannot miss for the benefit of my kids.
This transcript has been condensed and edited for clarity.
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