I did it. I stuck my neck out there and started a small business. I put my private creativity into the world and asked people to accept it, appreciate it, spend money on it. On this ride, I have taken with me a small but extremely dedicated crew of people. The work that I see them put into a business that I created far exceeds any effort that I ever put into any of the jobs I had prior to owning Renegade. Running this company and working with these people has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, if not the most rewarding. When I take time off, I actually look forward to getting back to work. I enjoy spending time with my co-workers.

The amount of dedication that Renegade has from its fans blows me away at times. I truly owe my success to the wonderful people that come into our taproom week after week and buy our beer from their local liquor store day after day. My gratitude runs deep.

99% of the people that interact with Renegade are great people. So, it bothers me, and it bothers my co-workers when we get asinine comments on social media from that 1% that really relate to nothing and contribute nothing to the conversation. I run a business that has an element of creativity to it and thus, I am open to criticism of my craft. I invite intelligent critiques of my craft, if anything they push me to look at what we are doing and how we can do it better.

But, I have to say, that social media really rears its ugly head at times. While the greatest benefit of social media is that everyone has a voice, it is also its greatest flaw at times. If Renegade makes a post about a new can coming to the market and a response is about BPA or we make a post about an event we are holding and a response is #DGF what really is the purpose of that? Comments of this genre don’t serve to critique my specific business, so there is nothing I can do to improve your experience. They don’t serve to help anyone. Are these people simply on a path of negativity? What is the end goal here and why should I or any of our social media followers care to read these comments? Have you nothing more important to occupy your time?

I think before posting, you have to consider what the purpose of Renegade is. When I was a home brewer/beer geek, craft beer was what made me happy. I met with friends, made new friends and was able to find my creative spirit all through craft beer. I never had an unhappy moment when I was spending time reading about, making, or drinking craft beer. When I thought of opening a brewery, my primary goal was to contribute to that joy for others. I get asked a lot about what success looks like and to me success is always when I see people enjoying themselves and making friends while drinking Renegade beer.

I have made my fair share of mistakes with Renegade and if you have a week off we can sit down and I’ll tell you about them. I’m open to criticism when it is intelligent and informed and presented in an appropriate manner. But, I’ll tell your right now, my mistakes are not related to BPA in cans or the fact that you don’t care about one of our events or any other dumbass thing you have to say.

At the root of all of this, Renegade makes beer, a simple beverage. We aren’t solving the world’s problems or advancing humanity. There are much smarter people in the world than me that can tackle the important issues of the day. We make a simple beverage that is meant to bring joy to the people that drink it. That’s all we do, we attempt to bring joy and relaxation to your life. So, before you waste all your brain power on what you think is a clever comment, remember that all we do is make a beverage that is best enjoyed in the company of good friends.

Here’s to life. I hope we can be friends.

Brian O’Connell